The Occupational Safety and Heath Administration published the final version of its new crane rule on Nov. 9, which covers training and certification for crane operators. The rule is a revision of a draft version published in May 2018, and it removes the need to certify operators by crane capacity rather than just type of crane.

The changes, which apply to OSHA’s 29 CFR 1926 subpart CC section regarding crane and derricks in construction, will take effect on Dec. 9. Changes to training and certification rules, including new requirements for employers to evaluate operators’ ability to safely use the equipment, will not go into effect until Feb. 7, 2019. A 2010 update to the rule, requiring all crane operators be certified by Nov. 10, 2018, is still in effect.

The elimination of the need to certify by crane capacity is the most significant change, allowing for operators to move up to higher-capacity cranes without extra certification. The final rule also removes the requirement for evaluations of operators on derricks, sideboom cranes or cranes with lifting capacities of less than two tons.  

While the current standard does require crane operators to be certified, the new rule includes a requirement for employers to evaluate their employees’ ability to run the cranes, including evaluation periods for new operators. Unlike the proposed draft rule, the final rule allows existing operators to skip this evaluation period, as employers can rely on previous assessments of their skill. Evaluations must be conducted under the supervision of a person knowledgeable about the crane and its use on site and is separate from any evaluation by a third-party certification program or state license. Employers will have to record the evaluation information, and operators only need to be re-evaluated if the lifting work changes significantly. According to OSHA, costs associated with training and certification are expected to be offset by no longer having to certify by capacity.