National Commission for the
Certification of Crane Operators
Committed to Quality, Integrity, and Fairness in Testing since 1995


Certification for Dedicated Pile Driver Operators Introduced

January 30, 2017—The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) and the Pile Driving Contractors Association (PDCA) have jointly announced the introduction of a certification program for operators of dedicated pile driving equipment.

Dedicated pile drivers represent a growing type of equipment utilized in the construction industry and, up until now, no independent mechanism has existed for operators to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of these specialized pieces of equipment. “While operators of mobile cranes equipped with pile driving attachments are already covered under the existing CCO lattice boom crawler crane certification, the new Dedicated Pile Driver (DPD) Operator certification program addresses a need identified by the industry for an operator certification specifically designed for operators of these specialized machines,” said NCCCO Director of Operations and Program Development Joel Oliva.

NCCCO developed the program in cooperation with the Pile Driving Contractors Association (PDCA). A task force of subject matter experts representing operators, users, owners, manufacturers, trainers, and other stakeholders developed the written and practical tests that individuals must pass to become certified according to sound psychometric principles. Task force members identified the knowledge areas and tasks necessary for safe dedicated pile driver operation and developed examinations that are fair, valid, reliable, and legally defensible.

Task Force members (shown above with a Liebherr LB20-LRH 100 at a meeting in Hialeah Gardens, Miami, FL) met 12 times over the course of more than 18 months to develop the new Dedicated Pile Driver program.

“PDCA has been delighted to work with NCCCO in the development of this program, which will make a major contribution to ensuring pile driving equipment is operated in a safe and professional manner,” said PDCA Executive Director Stevan Hall. “By providing the industry with assessments that are specifically focused on the work that operators perform on a daily basis, we will ensure that operators are proficient and knowledgeable and thereby reduce risk and improve safety.”

Meets OSHA Requirements

The new operator certification program is designed to meet the operator certification/qualification requirements of OSHA 1926 Subpart CC set to go into effect November 10, 2017. Dedicated pile drivers are specifically identified by OSHA as one of the equipment types within the scope of the Cranes and Derricks in Construction rule.

The written exam covers a wide variety of knowledge areas critical to dedicated pile driver work, including setup, inspection, operation, maintenance, and the ability to utilize load charts. The practical exam requires candidates to demonstrate their ability to operate the equipment and perform common activities, such as the lifting, securing, and lowering of a pile.

First DPD PEAP workshop
The first Practical Examiner Accreditation Program (PEAP) Workshop for the new Dedicated Pile Driver operator program was held in Frankford, DE, hosted by Sun Piledriving Equipment, LLC, where a PVE 40PR was put through its paces (above). Workshop participants were required to meet full certification requirements as well as pass an Examiner’s exam in order to become authorized by NCCCO to administer practical exams.

Full documentation for candidates and test sites preparing for the CCO dedicated pile driver certification exams are available at, from where free PDFs of the Dedicated Pile Driver Operator Candidate Handbook and DPD Test Site Coordinator Handbook can be downloaded, along with a schedule of upcoming test administrations and Practical Examiner Accreditation Workshops. For information, contact NCCCO at 703-560-2391, ext. 202, or email

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The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) was formed in January 1995 as an independent, non-profit organization by industry to develop and administer a nationwide program for the certification of crane operators and related personnel. Since then, NCCCO has administered over one million nationally accredited written and practical examinations and issued more than 336,000 nationally accredited and OSHA-compliant certifications in all 50 states. For the latest NCCCO news, follow @NCCCOorg on Twitter.

The Pile Driving Contractors Association (PDCA) is an organization of pile driving contractors that advocates the increased use of driven piles for deep foundations and earth retention services. PDCA represents over 600 companies and individuals, both domestic and international, that are associated with the pile driving industry. PDCA’s vision is to “Promote driven piles as the preferred deep foundation solution” and its mission is to “Effectively communicate the benefits of the driven pile through education and continuous improvement of methods, material, and equipment to the industry.”

Download a PDF of the press release.