LP Gas

OSHA extends compliance date for crane operator certification, to develop new rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule that extends the deadline for crane operator certification requirements in construction by three years – to Nov. 10, 2017. According to a press release, the rule also extends by three years an employer’s responsibility to ensure crane operators are competent to operate a crane safely.

During the three-year period, OSHA will address operator qualification requirements for the cranes standards, including the role of operator certification, the agency states. The final cranes and derricks rule, published in 2010, required crane operators on construction sites to meet one of four qualification/certification options by Nov. 10, 2014. After publishing the final rule in 2010, a number of parties raised concerns about the standard’s requirement to certify operators by type and capacity of crane and questioned whether crane operator certification was sufficient for determining whether an operator could operate equipment safely on a construction site.

As originally written, the rule impacted the propane industry because employees working at, what OSHA deemed, a construction site and operating a crane with a lifting capacity of more than 2,000 pounds were required to have third-party certification. This would become a costly and time-consuming burden, the industry contended.

Mollie O’Dell, the director of communications and media relations at the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA), says NPGA conveyed its concerns to OSHA over the last year about the crane operator certification requirements and their effects on propane marketers.

“While OSHA has, and had all along, planned to extend the compliance period for three years, the point of their action was to give them time to work on a new proposed rule that would address broader crane operator concerns that have been brought to their attention by much larger industrial companies whose employees are typically full-time crane operators,” O’Dell wrote in an email. “We plan and expect that OSHA will address our concerns as part of the new proposed rule that is currently in development.”