January 2013

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Page 27 of 83

Regulatory A Matter of Interpretation: Crane Industry Unites Against Potentially Hefty Testing Costs Groups have widely condemned OSHA plans for crane operator certification that could add up to $1 billion in extra costs. By Will North As the U.S. lifting industry gears up to certify operators ahead of the 2014 implementation of the cranes and derricks rule, the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association���s (SC&RA���s) members are questioning a requirement for capacity certification that could, some say, add a billion dollars to owners��� training costs. The first public concerns over OSHA���s interpretation of the federal rule came at the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association���s (SC&RA���s) Rigging Workshop in Louisville, Ky., this fall. The OSHA rule was first published in 2010 and requires certification of operators, across the U.S., saying, ���An operator will be deemed qualified if he or she is certified for that type and capacity of crane.��� Since the meeting took place, organizations including unions, crane owners, insurers and standards bodies have spoken out against OSHA���s interpretation of the rule. The federal rule has been mirrored by regulations at state level. Its certification requirements are due to take effect in 2014. However, the certification program developed alongside the rule by the National Commission on the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) only issues certificates for different crane types, not capacity classes. Industry members have now begun to question how OSHA will interpret the requirement that operators be certified for the capacity of crane they operate. With tens of thousands of operators already certified, many worry that existing certificates could be, essentially, worthless. With different approaches to capacity training available, attendees at a Small Business Administration (SBA) meeting Sept. 12 in Washington, D.C., were told that some crane users now feel they cannot recommend any certification scheme. That���s Not What We Meant Rob Weiss, of Cranes Inc., who sat on the Cranes and Derricks Advisory Committee (CDAC) that developed the rule, says the CDAC experts never expected OSHA to insist on a certification by capacity requirement. ���When we wrote the cranes and derrick rule, our intention was [to certify by] type, but somehow capacity got in there. Now we all have to deal with it. There was no comment at the time of the public consultation on the inclusion in the rule of ���type and capacity.��� ���In our heads, as an industry we realized that capacity was irrelevant,��� Weiss added. ���NCCCO and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) were certifying to type, not capacity. When OSHA published their answers to frequently asked questions in their interpretation, they indicated that operators��� certificates should have a capacity reference. ���The big worry for us now is disenfranchisement of operators certified under the existing program,��� Weiss continued. ���The original idea was to have four subtypes (continued on page 28) 26 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | January 2013 26_Crane_Certif_Feature_KP.indd 26 12/21/12 10:49 AM

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