January 9, 2012
William K. Irwin, Jr.
Carpenters International Training Fund
6801 Placid Street
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Dear Mr. Irwin:
Thank you for your July 21, 2011 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) asking for a review of the International Training Fund's (CTIF) Rigging and Signaling Qualification Program. You ask us to determine if this program meets the requirements of a third-party evaluator of rigger and signal person qualifications in accordance with OSHA's Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard, subpart CC of 29 CFR 1926.
With regard to third-party evaluators of signal person qualifications, OSHA defines a "qualified evaluator (third party)" in 29 CFR 1926.1401 as:
an entity that, due to its independence and expertise, has demonstrated that it is competent in accurately assessing whether individuals meet the Qualification Requirements in this subpart for a signal person.
OSHA requires each employer of a signal person to use a qualified evaluator (a third party or an employee) to verify that the signal person possesses a minimum set of knowledge and skills. See 29 CFR 1926.1428(a). In general, OSHA does not evaluate or endorse specific products or programs, and therefore, makes no determination as to whether a program meets the definition of a "qualified evaluator (third party) based on a written curriculum." It should be noted, however, that in the preamble to the Cranes and Derricks final rule, OSHA stated that "labor-management joint apprenticeship training programs that train and assess signal persons would typically meet the definition for a third-party qualified evaluator...." 75 Federal Register 48029 (Aug. 9, 2010). Ultimately, the employer is responsible for assuring that its employees are adequately trained regardless of whether the employees' qualification is assessed by a third party. See 29 CFR 1926.1428(b) and 1926.1430(b).
In regard to qualifying riggers, a qualified rigger is a person who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or by extensive knowledge, training and experience, successfully demonstrated the ability to solve/resolve problems related to the subject matter, the work, or the project. The level of experience, knowledge, and skill needed to safely perform rigging jobs varies depending on the type of rigging job being performed and worksite conditions. The employer is in the best position to determine what type of rigging will be needed for a particular hoisting job and the qualifications needed for a rigger to do the job safely. The crane standard does not require third-party evaluators or specify the qualifications of rigger evaluators. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that a rigger is qualified with regards to the rigging job being performed. The employer's assessment of the rigger may be supported by determinations made by a third party, such as CTIF, regarding a rigger's abilities and qualifications.
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to comply with safety and health standards promulgated by OSHA or by a state with an OSHA-approved state plan. However, this interpretation is not itself a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Directorate of Construction at (202) 693-2020.
James G. Maddux, Director
Directorate of Construction