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


Knuckleboom Cranes Move into Second Place

March 2018—Last year CCO Articulating Crane Operator certification became the second most popular CCO certification program (after mobile cranes), reflecting the increased market acceptance of “knucklebooms” (as they are often called) and loaders in the U.S. market.

Arkilander-0318In fact, the number of CCO articulating crane operator (ACO) certifications has risen steadily from just over 800 in 2010 (the first year ACO certification was available) to nearly 13,000 today. In 2017 alone, more than 3,300 certifications were issued.

“They were initially primarily used for material delivery, but numerous operational advantages have led to their gradual adoption for many jobs that used to be handled by telescopic boom mobile cranes,” noted Tim Arkilander, executive vice president of sales and business development at Palfinger North America, a member of the ASME B30.22 Articulating Crane Subcommittee, and chair of NCCCO’s Articulating Crane Management Committee.

Market growth in articulating cranes has come, in particular, from pre-cast concrete work, railroads, utilities, drywall, as well as roofing, shown here.
Market growth has come, in particular, from pre-cast concrete work, railroads, utilities, drywall, and roofing, as shown here.

It’s the very versatility of these cranes and the multiple applications they can be used in that has led to some confusion as to when operators are required to be certified under OSHA 1926 Subpart CC. The rule provides an exception for crane operator certification when the crane is used strictly for material delivery, but once they’re used to facilitate construction, such as to hold trusses while being attached to a structure, then operators are required to be certified.

Thus, several factors—increased applications in the field and regulatory requirements—have combined to fuel accelerated growth and interest for the CCO Articulating Crane Operator certification. Of course, certification is the right—and safe—way to go regardless of any regulatory requirements.

ABL practical
A candidate for the CCO Articulating Boom Loader crane operator certification navigates the test course.

CCO Articulating Crane Operator certification can be earned with up to three different designations—Articulating Boom Loader, Articulating Boom Crane, and/or Articulating Boom Crane with Winch—although the Articulating Boom Crane designation is the most popular option, with roughly three times more operators choosing the “ABC” option.