THE LONG-AWAITED OSHA COMPLIANCE DIRECTIVE IS OUT
As promised by OSHA’s Scott Ketchum at the NCCCO conference last fall, the compliance directive for the Cranes and Derricks in Construction Standard has finally been released. You can read the full document HERE.
We are going to wait until organizations bigger and smarter than us have analyzed this 230-page document to give you any detailed guidance. However, a few basics are clear:
- Now that the compliance directive has been released, we can expect to see enforcement efforts step up.
- Operators must be trained, certified/licensed, and evaluated on the specific equipment they are running and for the specific tasks they are doing. Compliance officers will take steps to make sure each of those requirements have been complied with. If you need a refresher on what it means to be evaluated, click here. Remember, anytime you assign an operator to run a new piece of equipment that is substantially different, or perform new tasks, you must re-evaluate the operator and document it. “The focus should be on whether operation of the different equipment requires different knowledge, skills or abilities to recognize or avert risk.” We have resources to help you with this if you need them.
- If operators are not trained, certified/licensed, and evaluated, officers will check to see that they meet all the requirements of being an operator-in-training who is continuously monitored by a qualified trainer. If you need a refresher on those requirements, click here.
- Certified/licensed means that they have a license for the jurisdiction they work in, if applicable, and then if that license does not meet the federal floor, they must also have a nationally accredited certification. Examples: An operator in Massachusetts who has an MA hoisting license but not a nationally accredited certification such as NCCER or NCCCO is out of compliance, because the MA hoisting license does not meet the federal floor. An operator in Connecticut who has a CT license is covered for both CT and the federal requirement because that license does meet the federal floor (however that operator is not covered to work in other states). An operator in NH, ME or VT only needs a nationally accredited cert because those states do not have their own licensing requirements.
- Compliance officers will check to make sure that employers have paid for their operator’s certification, as the standard requires. You may not require an operator in your employment to pay for his or her own certification if it was done after the revisions to the standard released on February 7, 2019.
- Compliance officers will not only ask for documentation showing qualification of signal persons, but they will also check to see that they continue to be qualified and don’t need re-training and re-qualification. You must have a system for evaluating when they need retraining. If your signalperson has a card but doesn’t know what s/he is doing anymore, that card will not matter. Remember: the reason we don’t put expiration dates on our signal/rigging cards is not because we don’t think people need refreshers, but because we think it should be up to you how often you do a refresher based on how often they work with cranes.
- Compliance officers will check to make sure signal person qualification cards list the specific type of signals your signal person is using. (Note: our cards list standard hand signals and radio signals.)
- If you are qualifying your own signal persons in-house, make sure you are administering both a written and practical test. Compliance officers will ask to see documentation of this.
- Compliance officers will interview employers and riggers to ensure they are qualified for the specific tasks they are doing.
- Compliance officers will verify that the type of crane operated is the same as, or similar to, that specified by the certification/license. If it is not, they are instructed to “document the make and model of equipment operated and obtain a copy of the operator’s certification. To determine the type of equipment, note the equipment’s design and function, and if necessary, review the operations manual or contact the manufacturer. Contact the testing organization, if necessary, for assistance determining if the equipment is within the type specified on the certification/licensing documentation or similar.” We had hoped OSHA might be more specific on the issue of crane type, given that NCCER has so many different exam configurations and there are gray areas in determining what is most similar. We will have to keep doing the best we can to make sure you are covered for all your crane types. For NCCCO certs, we believe the crane type issue is clearer.