After hearing objections and concerns from “a number of parties” the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced its intent to extend the deadline for compliance with its new crane operator certification rules by three years to November 10, 2017.
The extension will allow the administration time to address raised concerns through a new draft of the rules at a later date and ensure that the requirements being updated don’t “cause disruption to the construction industry.”
The proposed extension would also extend the existing phase-in requirement that employers ensure that their operators are qualified to operate the equipment to the same date.
On August 9, 2010 OSHA issued a final standard on requirements for cranes and derricks in construction work. To meet the standard, employers were required to either certify crane operators themselves using an evaluation program that has been approved by a third-party agency, or use a third-party testing agency.
The standard gave crane operators to meet one of four qualification/certification options by Nov. 10, 2014.
During a recent meeting hosted by OSHA on the new rules attended by contractors, industry organizations representatives of several crane manufacturers, there was little agreement on the definitions of “certification” and “qualification” and who has the right to decide whether an operator is qualified or not.
There was also concern over how operators will be tested and what they will be tested on. Many raised the concern that a lot of time and money could be wasted testing crane operators who are, in their employer’s opinion, fully “qualified” to operate but have yet to be certified.
Between now and 2017 and the process of addressing concerns about the new rules, the agency plans to post a list of frequently asked questions on its Cranes and Derricks in Construction website to provide additional clarification and address some comments and concerns raised by stakeholders.