April 2015—The Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) met March 31–April 1 in Washington, DC, to review OSHA’s draft proposed regulatory text for crane operator qualification (see separate story).
OSHA had indicated late last year that it would publish draft language for public review prior to issuing a Proposed Rule. NCCCO was among 18 organizations and private individuals who spoke at the one-and-a-half day meeting. “We complimented OSHA on listening to the industry and addressing both the ‘certification by capacity’ and ‘certification = qualification’ issues,” said NCCCO CEO, Graham Brent. However, as a certification body, NCCCO had reservations about OSHA’s plans to significantly expand the employer requirement to “evaluate” employees. It wasn’t clear, Brent said, how in practice this could work given the almost endless number of configuration permutations that many of today’s cranes are capable of.
NCCCO also had concerns about how the evaluators themselves were to be qualified. “NCCCO Practical Examiners must complete a three-day workshop, pass an Examiner’s written exam, and pass the practical exams they wish to administer,” Brent said in prepared testimony. “What steps are an employer to take to satisfy OSHA’s requirement to determine competency by make, model, and configuration of crane?” The frequency of these proposed evaluations (as often as six-month intervals) also raised questions.
Brent pointed out that certification without the kind of operator evaluation being proposed by OSHA had proved to be effective in saving lives and reducing accidents; Ontario and California being notable examples. Moreover, none of the 17 states with licensing had such a provision.
OSHA representatives commented they would take ACCSH’s recommendations into consideration when drafting the Proposed Rule, due for publication later this year.
For additional history on OSHA’s Crane Rule, see NCCCO’s OSHA Crane Rule Resource Center.