Posts Tagged ‘cic’

Update on Operator Certification and Recent OSHA Meeting in D.C.

Most of you who read this will be familiar with the draft proposed recently by OSHA regarding crane operator qualification which would replace the original wording of the 1926 (subpart CC) section 1427. This is the section where the operator certification and qualification requirements are covered. Copy and paste the following link to read the entire proposed draft:

In a nutshell, the draft was a rewrite of what qualifies and/or certifies an equipment operator, which includes a variety of crane types. In particular, the draft as written would require an extensive annual evaluation of the operator and require that the operator attend a very strenuous training program. The ‘proposed draft’ changed the current wording which states that operators are to be “certified by type and capacity of equipment” to “operators are to be certified by type of equipment.

As you might expect, there was an adverse reaction to this proposed draft, especially by employers of crane and equipment operators, since an annual evaluation of each operator would be extremely time-consuming and costly. Personally, I was not surprised by this proposed draft. I knew change was coming when OSHA extended the operator certification date because of the opposition of certain groups over operators having to be certified by type and capacity. Also, it was pretty obvious that OSHA had given serious thought to the subject of cranes, particularly to personnel who operate them, that certification did not equal qualification and there should be a greater emphasis on operator training, assessment and evaluation.

OSHA scheduled an ACCSH (Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health) meeting on March 2, to discuss the proposed draft. ACCSH is a 15-member advisory body that provides advice and assistance in construction and policy matters to the assistant secretary. ACCSH meetings are open to the public and are announced in the Federal Register. As you would expect, the room was full. CIC was represented by Tony Brown, Jeff Dudley, Pete Walsh and myself. Tony and I signed up to be speakers. When it came our time to speak, Tony and I both recommended to the ACCSH committee that the language requiring operators to be certified by type and capacity should remain in the regulation.

We made this recommendation based on the following reasoning: Half of the four accredited certification organizations (NCCER and CIC) developed their certification programs by type and capacity because OSHA said that would be the requirement. It just would not be fair to these organizations to change the original requirement for certification which was by type and capacity and force them to change their programs. That would not only be unfair, it defies common sense!

[I understand] there are operators that have certifications which are based on type only. Requiring them to be certified by type and capacity would cause them to be disenfranchised. Therefore, we recommended to the ACCSH committee that not only should type and capacity be left in the regulation, but the regulation should also allow operators to be certified by type. The standard would ultimately read that operators of equipment be certified by type and capacity or by type. We felt like this would satisfy all of the certification organizations and would be fair to all of them as well.

The next day, the ACCSH committee recommended by motion several things to OSHA. First, that OSHA needs to rework the operator evaluation and re-evaluation language and that type and capacity be put back into the rewrite of 1427. This would result in operators having the choice of being certified by type and capacity or by type only. ACCSH also recommended that OSHA clarify whether a trainer be certified or certified and qualified and that OSHA develop some reasonable definition of who the controlling contractor would be on the job site.

I’ve always been a little skeptical of OSHA and its control in the workplace. However, after attending the ACCSH meeting I have a lot more respect for OSHA and what it does to protect workers. I was also very pleased with the meeting and have great admiration for the members of the ACCSH committee. Some of these members might not have even known what a crane was when the meeting first started, but they came up to speed very quickly and were very astute to the issues being presented. They made appropriate motions and recommendations to OSHA regarding the most important points of the proposed draft.

So this is what we can be assured of: OSHA is going to require that operators be evaluated on a periodic basis with signed documentation by an evaluator. There will be more stringent training requirements which will have to be documented along with the periodic evaluations. In other words, people will have to attend more of a professional type training program which covers the topics outlined in the proposed draft. It was also expressed that OSHA would like to get all of this done by year’s end. So now we just have to wait for OSHA to do their work and present another rewrite of what was previously proposed. It will then have to go through the process and hopefully by year’s end all of this can be done and this certification issue can be put to bed, and the industry can move forward in a direction that would help more men and women go home safely at the end of the work day.

– Jay Sturm

Calling all Operators: $10,000 Grand Prize!

Cranes101 and Woods CRW are teaming up again to host the Northeast #2 Regional Qualifier for the CIC Crane Operator Skills Competition! The Qualifier will be held at Woods CRW’s newest facility in Carlisle, PA on June 6th. If you’re a skilled crane operator, you should seriously consider registering! The top two winners at the Qualifier will advance to the finals, which are being held at the ICUEE Expo Demo in Louisville, KY this October. All expenses are paid for, and the Grand Prize is a whopping $10,000 dollars! Space is limited – REGISTER TODAY!

To register, please visit:

For more information, watch the video below:

We hope to see you there!

Certification vs. Qualification

Let’s talk about a subject that’s very near and dear to OSHA and anybody who employs crane operators. That is: The difference between certification and qualification.

This is a hot topic at Washington D.C as we speak. OSHA has held up the crane operator certification for as long as November 2017, in the hopes of sorting out a number of items. This one item in particular, certification and qualification, has got to be keeping them busy. You may be wondering why we need to have both certification and qualification for crane operators. Let me explain…

Crane_OperatorCertification is a process that typically would follow training. A crane operator needs to be trained and trained properly. And when properly trained, the crane operator should be able to pass a test certifying that they have had training in crane operation and crane safety.

But training alone doesn’t qualify a crane operator to operate a crane; much like going to school doesn’t qualify a doctor to become a brain surgeon. There’s a level of experience that has to be achieved. That’s where certification ends and where qualification begins.

 Now, qualification is the act of ensuring that by virtue of the crane operators ability to run the crane, and having learned how to run that specific crane, would turn a certified crane operator into a qualified crane operator.

 OSHA recognizes the value in words that express this very topic, exactly how that separation is going to be handled in the OSHA standards. Now there’s no doubt, if you look historically at, not just cranes, but any type of heavy machinery or any type of equipment, a person that’s going to operate that equipment needs two basic features to be qualified to run them. One is training, and there is no substitute for training. And the other is experience, and there’s no substitute for experience. An operator needs to be trained and experienced. There’s no doubt about it.

Looking at the industry the way that I do, from the accident going back, when we consult after an accident has happened and get to the root cause of the accident it typically falls under one of the following categories:

  • A trained operator can easily have an accident doing something they’re not familiar with, even though they have training.
  • And an experienced operator, without the training, is equally as prone to having an accident.

I know I’ve seen a lot of kickback from operators who believe that training is not adequate to make a crane operator, and they’re in fact right, even though they may not know why. I’ve seen trained but inexperienced operators get into trouble with a crane.

But experience alone doesn’t make a crane operator. I have seen many cases where a person has run a crane for more than 20 years, but never had the proper training. This is the same crane operator who gets into trouble and when the investigation is over. All because of improper training.

I’ve seen people who’ve been operating cranes for 25 years, 30 years who still don’t know how to read a load chart, for instance. That’s where training comes in. You don’t typically pick that up by your experience. And knowing how to read a load chart doesn’t make you a crane operator either. You still need experience enough to qualify you.  That’s really the focus of what I’m telling you today.

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Getting experience every day!

I applaud the organizations that have set out to offer certification for crane operators.  Their job is truly an interesting one at the very least. At the end of the day, these organizations have to prove that the person has the knowledge of cranes by virtue of a written test that typically follows a classroom. And then, the ability to control the load or run the crane by virtue of a practical test. I see the organizations have put all kinds of stipulations on the practical test, and they occasionally get questioned. But if you take a step back and take a look at why they do what they do, you’ll understand.

First off, the practical test is a timed test,  so a person that was just getting lucky running a crane, isn’t going to do it on this practical test, because they are going to have to do it in the allotted time. A person who’s experienced at running a crane will do it very easily.  We’ve proven that right within our own business.

Also, a person that struggles with understanding load charts, for instance, but has all kinds of experience running a crane, can be equally as dangerous as a person who has no experience running a crane. This person won’t pass a written test unless they truly know the material. Going forward, these two facets of the crane business, when they’re followed, are absolutely going to make the crane business a safer business.

I’ve handled dozens of accidents, including crane accidents, and I can assure you there’s no reason for an accident to ever happen.  I haven’t seen one yet that didn’t fall into one category or the other, mostly lack of training.

The safety business is very unique. It ensures, and I can see it happening, that everyone is going to go home safely at the end of the day. I hope this little editorial will help you. We’re hoping that everybody out there who hasn’t had any kind of formal training, that’s been running a crane, should in fact get it.

That is OSHA’s thrust with the meeting that just happened here a couple of weeks ago in Washington D.C.  They want to ensure that every operator has formal training. I believe that it would be a real booster shot for the industry, certainly making the whole industry safer. Till next time, have a safe day and I hope you fair well out in the real world.

Meeting of the Minds

Jay recently attended the Crane Institute Certification (CIC) Annual Meeting in Florida. The Governing and Advisory Boards meet once a year to discuss any changes, modifications, and updates tot he accredited crane operator program. It’s a lot of work, but they also know how to have a good time. The meetings consist of the brightest and most knowledge experts in the crane industry, truly a meeting of the minds.

Of course, all work and no play makes Jay a dull boss, so he took some breaks to work on his selfie skills while mingling with the best of the best.

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Jay poses outside in the Florida sun with CIC Admins Amanda Branton (left) and Jeanie Coleman (right).

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Representing the North, Jay meets up with the always delightful Ann Campagnone, who works for Crane Institute of America in Sanford, Florida.

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A break in meetings allows Jay and Vice President of Crane U, Brian Hope, to pose for a picture.