The standard requires that rigger be a “qualified rigger” to perform a certain task. What qualifications must a rigger possess to be a “qualified rigger”?
A qualified rigger is a person who meets the criteria for a qualified rigger. A qualified rigger must, therefore: Possess a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or have extensive knowledge, training, and experience, and successfully demonstrate the ability to solve problems related to rigging loads. A qualified rigger must be able to properly rig the load for a particular job. He or she need not be qualified to do every type of rigging job. Each load that requires rigging has unique properties that can range from the simple to the complex. However, previous experiences do not automatically qualify the rigger to rig unstable, unusually heavy, or electric loads that may require a tandem lift, multiple lifts, or use of custom rigging equipment. In essence, employers must make sure that the person can do the rigging work needed for the exact types of loads and lifts for a particular job with the equipment and rigging that will be used for that job.
Does a certified operator also meet the requirements of a qualified rigger?
A certified operator does not necessarily meet the requirements of a qualified rigger. The person designated as the qualified rigger must have the ability to properly rig the load for a particular job. A certified or qualified operator may meet the requirements of a qualified rigger, depending on the operator’s knowledge and experience with rigging. In general, the qualifications of a rigger and an equipment operator are not considered one in the same.
If an operator has a state or local crane operator license, is the operator employer in compliance with OSHA’s standard when operating within the licensing jurisdiction?
The answer depends on whether the licensing criteria meet the minimum requirements (federal floor) in 29 CFR 1926.1427(e). If the state or local licensing program does meet the specifications in 29 CFR 1926.1427(e), and the operator is licensed accordingly, then OSHA does not require any additional certification for work performed within the state or locality. If the licensing program does not meet the federal floor, then OSHA does not require the operator to be licensed in accordance with the program. Note, however, that the operator may still be subject to action by the state or local authority for failure to comply with its requirements even if its programs do not meet OSHA’s specification. In addition, as of November 10, 2014, if the licensing program does not meet the federal floor, employers must use operators who are qualified/certified under one of the methods specified by 29 CFR 1926.1427.
How does an employer know whether an organization is an “accredited crane operator testing organization” and therefore qualified to certify operators?
To qualify for this title, the testing organization must be accredited by a “nationally recognized accrediting agency” in 29 CFR 1926.1401 states that the term includes, but is not limited to, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and the American National Standard Institute (ANSI). NCCA and ANSI have accredited several testing organizations, and their websites identify the organizations they have accredited. Note that a testing organizations accreditation must be reviewed at least every three years, so employers looking for an accredited crane operator testing organization must make sure that an organizations accreditation is current.
How long is a certification by an accredited crane operator testing organization valid?
The above certification is valid for 5 years. After 5 years, it must be renewed to confirm that the operator’s knowledge and skills are up to date.
I plan to hire a new crane operator. An applicant for the job was certified for the equipment by an accredited testing organization while working for another employer. May I rely on that individual’s certification?
Yes, such a certification is portable. However, as stated above, the certification is valid for only 5 years, after which it must be renewed. Please note that a qualification by an audited employer program or by the U.S. military is not portable. Additionally, if the operator is certified under a state or local licensing program that meets the specifications in 29 CFR 1926.1427(e), the certification is only valid within the boundaries of the state or locality that issued the certification.
Does an operators certification mean that the operator is qualified to operate any type of equipment covered by the standard?
No. An operator may operate a particular piece of equipment if the operator is certified for that type and capacity of equipment or for higher capacity equipment of that type. For example, an operator certified for a 100-ton hydraulic crane may operate a 50-ton hydraulic crane but not a 200-ton hydraulic crane. If no accredited testing agency offers certification examinations for a particular type and/or capacity of equipment, an operator is considered to be qualified to operate that equipment if the operator has been certified for the type/capacity that is most similar to that equipment and for which a certification examination is available. The operator’s certificate must state the type/capacity of equipment for which the operator is certified.
Who besides crane operators and riggers, are affected by Subpart CC?
Employers who use cranes and derricks in construction work must comply with the standard. In addition, other employers on construction sites were cranes and derricks are used are responsible for violations that expose their employees to hazards and therefore, they need to address the requirements of the standard that may affect their employees. Crane lessors who provide operators and/or maintenance personnel with the equipment also have duties under the standard.
Does the final rule require construction crane operators to be certified or qualified?
Yes. By November 10, 2014, all equipment operators (except operators of derricks, side boom cranes, and equipment rated at 2,000 pounds or less) must be certified/qualified under one of four specified options. These options are:
Certification by an accredited crane operator testing organization;
Qualification by an audited employer program;
Qualification by U.S. military; or
Licensing by state or local government entity.
Where the scope of the final rule exempts equipment from all requirements of Subpart CC, operators of that equipment are not required to be certified. Operators of this equipment are still required to be qualified in accordance with other applicable requirements of 29 CFR part 1926 as applicable, such as subpart o, Motor Vehicles, Mechanized Equipment, and Marine Operations, and the general training experience requirements of 1926.20(b)(4).
Are operators required to be certified under existing state, county, or city licensing programs?
As of the effective date of the final rule, November 8, 2010, operators in states or localities with operator licensing requirements must continue to meet those requirements. Failure to do so would likely violate the law of the licensing jurisdiction and, could violate subpart cc as well.
Fed OSHA new rigging standard?
1926.1401, 1926.1404, and 1926.1425 – qualified rigger