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OSHA schedules stakeholder meetings to discuss crane operator certification requirements

FAQs for the Stakeholder Meetings - Cranes and Derricks in Construction

Following publication of OSHA's final Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard, the Agency received numerous questions involving the standard's operator certification provisions, particularly on the requirement that operators be tested and certified on both the type and capacity of the crane(s) which they will operate. After further review, OSHA has concluded that two specific issues involving operator certification merit additional input: 1) the usefulness of certifying operators for different capacities of cranes, and 2) the safety issues related to allowing an operator to operate all capacities of cranes within a specific type. These issues will be the focus of the upcoming Stakeholder Meetings that will take place in Washington, DC on April 2 and 3.

BACKGROUND

Current requirement for certification by "type and capacity"

The final Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard requires that testing organizations "provide different levels of certification based on equipment capacity and type". OSHA adopted this language on the recommendation of its crane advisory committee (C-DAC), included it in the proposed rule, and incorporated it without change into the final rule at 1926.1427(b)(1)(ii)(B). The Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard contains no additional requirements as to how the testing organizations determine the appropriate capacities for testing. Instead, the standard leaves such decisions to the testing organizations and their accrediting organizations. OSHA explained in the preamble to the final rule that operators would be allowed to operate cranes with capacities below that for which they were certified, but not cranes with higher capacities.

Concerns about the "capacity" requirement for operator certification

OSHA is aware of four private sector testing entities who issue crane operator certifications. Two of the testing organizations have modified their certification programs to account for different capacities of cranes and two have not. Some organizations assert that safely operating cranes of different capacities does not require significantly different skills that can be tested in a meaningful way, and that certification by capacity is not a useful practice. Other organizations have asserted that operators must have different skills or have greater experience to safely operate cranes with higher capacities. One of these explained that higher capacity generally corresponds to longer boom length, which makes the crane more difficult to operate safely.

FAQs:

Q: What is C-DAC? What is its status?

A: C-DAC is the acronym for the Cranes and Derricks Advisory Committee. The advisory committee was chartered by OSHA as a negotiated rulemaking committee to develop a draft crane safety proposal. C-DAC is now dissolved.

Q: What does OSHA hope to receive from the stakeholder meetings?

A: Information that will assist OSHA in assessing (1) the usefulness of certifying operators for different capacities of cranes, and 2) the safety issues related to allowing an operator certified at a certain capacity of cranes to operate all capacities of cranes within a specific type. This information can be anecdotal, the result of studies or surveys, or in any other form that will help OSHA in its assessment. This meeting is designed to elicit information about crane safety, not to debate legal arguments or entertain general advocacy.

NOTE: The purpose of these meetings is to exchange facts and information and to obtain the participants' individual opinions concerning certification by capacity. The meetings are not intended to communicate or achieve any consensus position of the group. To facilitate as much group interaction as possible, formal presentations will not be permitted.

Participants should be aware that comments made during the stakeholder meetings are not the same as formal comments submitted during a rulemaking comment period. If OSHA does ultimately choose to engage in rulemaking, individuals who wish to have OSHA consider information during the rulemaking will need to submit comments through the process that OSHA establishes for accepting rulemaking comments.

Q: Why do I have to pre-register for the stakeholder meeting?

A: OSHA believes that there may be considerable interest and does not want to disappoint individuals who may arrive expecting to attend but find that the meeting is full.

Q: What is the difference between registering as a Participant versus an Observer?

A: Participants will be seated around tables at the front of the hall and expected to share their expertise and opinions during discussions. Observers are seated nearby and can listen to the discussion. OSHA has found over many such meetings that discussion is furthered when only a limited number participate, rather than all within a hall or room.

Q: Will Participants be registered on a first come-first served basis?

A: No. OSHA will respond within a day or two after we are contacted. Participants will be selected to provide a range of views and ensure input from those with expertise in crane safety or crane operator certification.

Observers will be accepted on a first come-first served basis. Serving the need for as many to attend as possible, OSHA may have to limit the number of observers from a single organization.

Q: I can't travel to Washington, D.C. , in April. How can I find out what is said at the meeting?

A: The Agency will post a summary of the comments of each meeting on the stakeholder meeting web page a few weeks after the meeting.

Q: Will the meeting be recorded or will there be a transcript?

A: No. OSHA's meeting notes will not identify speakers by name. In addition, the Agency will post any written comments it receives on the stakeholder meeting web page.

Q: Since I can't be at the meeting, how can I provide additional information to OSHA?

A: You can contact the Directorate of Construction at OSHA (202-693-2020).


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