Certification Now Required for Crane Operators

July 10, 2006

According to the new law, no individual may operate a crane with the lifting capacity of five tons or more on a construction site unless that person has a valid crane operator certificate. The certificate must be issued by a nationally recognized and accredited certification program.

The new regulation applies to all wire rope-over-sheave mobile cranes and mobile tower cranes. The standard does not apply to track and automotive jacks, railway or automobile wrecking cranes, shipboard cranes, shipboard cargo handling equipment, well drilling derricks, skip hoists, mine hoists, truck body hoists, car or barge pullers, conveyors or excavating equipment when not used as a lifting crane.

Operators of cranes must provide proof of certification upon request by an investigator. Individual certification may be received from the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) or another certifying entity that has been accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. The regulation requires operators to renew their certification every five years.

The regulation will not apply to:

  • A crane operator trainee or apprentice under the direct supervision of the holder of a valid crane operator certificate
  • Workers directly employed by class 1 or 2 railroads, who have been qualified by the employing railroad as a crane operator, while working on property owned, leased or controlled by the employing railroad
  • Workers employed by or performing work for a public utility, rural electric cooperative, municipality, telephone company or industrial manufacturing plant
  • Workers subject to inspection and regulation under the Mine Safety and Health Act
  • Workers engaged in boating, fishing, agriculture or arboriculture
  • Workers who are members of or performing work for a uniform service or the United States Merchant Marines
  • People operating cranes for personal use on property owned or leased by that person
  • People operating cranes in emergency situations

 Currently, there are 12 other states that have certification or licensing requirements.


NIOSH Issues Review, Recommendations on Refractory Ceramic Fibers

A comprehensive scientific document on occupational exposures to refractory ceramic fibers is now available from NIOSH. The document provides a thorough critical review of scientific information concerning occupational exposures to refractory ceramic fibers, recommends an exposure limit to address potential work-related health effects, and outlines a recommended strategy to minimize exposures in the workplace.

The document, Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Refractory Ceramic Fibers, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2006-123, incorporates an intensive NIOSH evaluation of the published scientific literature, as reflected by more than 230 cited references. It also incorporates comments by independent scientific peer-reviewers and diverse stakeholder representatives.

NIOSH estimates that approximately 31,500 workers are potentially exposed to refractory ceramic fibers during manufacturing, distribution, handling, installation, and removal of these materials. Refractory ceramic fibers are synthetic fibers produced by the melting and blowing or spinning of calcined kaolin clay or a combination of alumina, silicon dioxide, or other oxides. They are used in commercial applications requiring lightweight insulation that is capable of withstanding high temperatures, such as furnace and kiln insulation.


Field Methods for Detecting Methamphetamine

NIOSH scientists recently partnered with SKC Inc., a prominent manufacturer of sampling technologies, to commercialize two low-cost, NIOSH-designed field methods to help first responders, public health officials, and remediation workers quickly detect the presence of methamphetamine on various environmental surfaces. Now, a single sampling technique can be used to detect trace levels of the illicit drug on surfaces, or used to evaluate decontamination efforts or clearance.



Evaluation of Exposure to Solvents at an Aircraft Fuel Cell Manufacturing Facility

NIOSH investigators responded to a request by employees to assess whether employee health effects of dermatitis and acute neurological symptoms were related to exposures in the work environment. They found that airborne exposures to methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), toluene, and acetone were well below current occupational exposure limits, but documented significant potential for dermal exposure among some workers. Employees with higher MEK exposure had significantly more symptoms of fatigue, lack of coordination, and muscle weakness. Investigators recommended modifying work practices and personal protective equipment and improved worker training to reduce dermal solvent exposures. 



13th International Respiratory Protection of Healthcare Workers and Emergency Responders

The 13th International Respiratory Protection of Healthcare Workers and Emergency Responders Conference will be held August 27-September 1, 2006 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Topics for papers include respiratory protection for healthcare workers, emergency responders, and those in developing countries, updates on standards and regulations, emerging hazards and technologies, and fundamentals of respiratory protection. 



Radial Faces $136,000 in Fines for Exposing Workers to Workplace Hazards

OSHA cited Radial International Corp. for alleged safety and health violations, proposing a total of $136,000 in penalties. The Kearny, N.J., company, doing business as Radio Casting Corp., is a brass foundry and aluminum die-casting operation that employs 35 workers.


OSHA initiated its investigation in December 2005 in response to a referral by the Kearny Fire Department concerning open burning in the company's facility. According to Phil Peist, area director of OSHA's Parsippany, N.J., office, the company was cited for three willful violations with a penalty of $90,000; 25 serious violations with a penalty of $45,000; and three other-than-serious violations with a $1,000 penalty.

"These violations have the potential of leading to serious harm to the workers at Radio Casting Corp.," said Peist. "The company must take whatever steps necessary to eliminate these hazards immediately to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for their employees."

Alleged willful violations address the company's failure to provide free and unobstructed access to exits; failure to provide an effective hearing conservation program; and failure to ensure that employees are appropriately protected when working with molten metal.

The alleged serious violations include the company's practice of the open burning of debris within the production area of its facilities; the company's failure to have safe clearance in the aisle way used to transport molten metals; failure to provide easily accessible exit routes; failure to properly guard machinery; and failure to properly protect employees from lead exposure. The company also received three other-than-serious citations for its failure to provide employees with important safety and health information and for failure to maintain proper records.

OSHA Fines Custom Plastics $165,200 for Safety Violations Following Fatal Workplace Incident

The death of a maintenance employee has prompted OSHA to propose $165,200 in fines against Custom Plastics Inc., Elk Grove Village, Ill., for alleged willful and serious violations of workplace safety and health standards.

OSHA opened an inspection at the plant in January after receiving information that the employee had fallen 12 feet while elevated by a forklift to repair a light. The investigation resulted in citations to Custom Plastics Inc. alleging two willful and seven serious violations of federal workplace safety and health regulations.

OSHA issued the alleged willful violations as a result of the company's failure to provide a platform secured to the lifting carriage or forks of the forklift, and for continuing to use forklifts that had holes drilled through the forks. Serious violations were issued as a result of unsafe practices involving repair of energized equipment, failing to obtain written approval from the manufacturers for modifications made to forklifts, and failure to provide a safe work platform during the repair of electrical equipment.

"Failing to comply with basic safety protections puts workers at unreasonable and unnecessary risk," said Diane Turek, OSHA's area director in Des Plaines, Ill. "When employers shirk their responsibility to keep the workplace free of these hazards, the results can be tragic for workers and their families."



Grain Elevator Operator Fined $153,450 for Federal Workplace Safety Violations

OSHA has proposed $153,450 in fines against Landmark Services Cooperative, an agribusiness company located in Cottage Grove, Wis., for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards involving the safe operation of a grain elevator in McFarland, Wis.

OSHA officials opened an inspection in January, following receipt of information that a Landmark employee had become engulfed in soybeans while working inside a grain bin in McFarland without proper and necessary safety equipment or training.

The investigation resulted in citations for two alleged willful violations of federal workplace safety regulations, including failure to provide employees entering grain bins with harnesses and lifelines, and permitting employees to walk on moving grain flowing out of the bin. OSHA also issued five alleged serious violations addressing the company's failure to train employees on grain bin entry hazards, failure to lock out the grain auger inside the bin prior to employee entry, failure to test the atmosphere inside the bin for oxygen content, failure to provide suitable rescue equipment and failure to train employees who act as observers.

"Some of these violations have the potential to kill employees inside those confined spaces," said OSHA Area Director Kimberly Stille, Madison, Wis. "When employers shirk their responsibility to keep the workplace safe, the results can be tragic for employees and their families."



Recently Updated OSHA Publications


Safety News Links