Are You Prepared For OSHA's New Truck-Mounted Crane Requirements?

If your company regularly uses service truck cranes within the 2,000 to 14,000-pound capacity, then you may want to take note of some upcoming changes proposed by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. New regulations for late 2017 are set to shake up how service truck cranes are currently operated. The following offers a brief rundown of the new operator and certification requirements, as well as how they'll affect your operations.

New Regulations Mean New Changes

While most medium and heavy-duty cranes are subject to OSHA oversight, cranes capable of lifting less than 14,000 pounds were once exempt from those governing rules. This changed in 2010, when OSHA 1926 Subpart CC was incorporated into the law. Under this new law, those who operate cranes with a lifting capacity of more than 2,000 pounds must be qualified or certified to do so. As a result, operators must be trained and tested before being credentialed to operate their equipment.

The new regulations were scheduled to go into effect by November 10, 2014. However, recent concerns over how operators will be tested, what material they'll be tested on and whether certification will be required for each class and group of crane caused federal authorities to push back the phase-in date. Currently, OSHA is on schedule to roll out the new rules by November 10, 2017.

Qualified vs. Certified

The forthcoming regulations stipulate that service truck crane operators, such as those found at sites like, must either be qualified or certified in accordance with OSHA rules. It's important for companies to understand the distinction between certification and qualification of their operators:

  • A qualified operator has likely received on-the-job training and testing. As a result, said operator is only qualified to perform crane-related work at the company that provided the training and testing.
  • A certified operator, on the other hand, is likely to receive formal standardized testing and training from an accredited third-party company. Certified operators also receive proof of their training and credentials in the form of a card, similar to that of a commercial driver's license (CDL). With this, a trained and certified operator can transfer their skills and expertise to any company.

How It Will Affect Your Work Site

Although OSHA 1926 Subpart CC requires qualified or certified operators when using service truck cranes for construction tasks (such as positioning, stabilizing or staging construction materials and aids), operators are exempt when performing service and repair work. However, the thin line between construction and service work may become an issue, especially when it comes to citations and fines.

As Tim Worman, business development manager at Iowa Molded Tool, noted in a recent Equipment World article, some companies are likely to take a broad stance on certifying their operators, regardless of the tasks they perform with their equipment. For example, some site supervisors may balk at operators performing certain types of service and repair work that could easily become (or at least be mistaken for) construction work without being qualified or certified to do so.

The new regulations are also expected to add some financial burden on employers. According to Equipment World's Tom Jackson, it could take upwards to $1,000 to complete 16 to 20 hours of classroom instruction, as well as $165 to complete a written exam from the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) and an additional $60 for a specialty exam.

For employers, it's a relatively small price to pay to avoid being cited and fined. For employees, it's an opportunity to hone a familiar skill set and receive certification for it. Fortunately, you'll have the next two years to prepare your company and its workforce for the coming regulatory changes.