The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has expanded the list of organizations whose crane-operator certification programs it formally recognizes, with an agreement with the National Center for Construction Education and Research, Gainesville, Fla.

OSHA chief David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, and NCCER President Don Whyte signed the voluntary agreement on May 17 at the Dept. of Labor headquarters in Washington.

In March, OSHA finalized a similar agreement with The Crane Institute of America Certification Inc. OSHA's first such crane-operator program agreement came in 1999, with the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators.

OSHA also has an agreement with the Operating Engineers Certification Program.

Crane safety has become a priority for OSHA, construction industry and labor groups, following several fatal accidents in 2008.

Industry and labor organizations are awaiting OSHA's release of a major new crane-safety rule. Michaels told ENR after the signing ceremony that the agency is aiming to issue the final crane regulation in July.

NCCER's Whyte said, "Certification of crane operators is critical to elevating crane safety in our industry. Having the OSHA stamp of approval validates that our program meets the highest certification standards for crane operators."

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