Does OSHA Require Training to Operate Cranes in Construction?

by | Mar 6, 2023 | Blog, Crane Operator, Cranes | 0 comments

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a key regulatory agency in the United States Department of Labor. As the name suggests, OSHA governs employee safety in jobsites all across the country, from retail greeters and office workers to ranch hands and construction crews. Unsurprisingly, OSHA has quite a bit to say about construction crews since construction sites often have many hazardous things going on.

If the question in your mind is, “does OSHA require training to operate cranes in construction?” then the answer is quite simple—yes, OSHA absolutely requires training to operate heavy machinery, including cranes.

We could just end the article there, but let’s take a deeper look at just what OSHA’s requirements are for operating cranes on a construction site and how aspiring crane workers can be cleared by this important agency:

What Are OSHA’s Requirements for Cranes in Construction?

OSHA has quite a few requirements for the operation of cranes and derricks on a construction site. The most pertinent regulation requires that all employers ensure that operators are “trained, certified/licensed, and evaluated” before operating any equipment.

According to OSHA, in order to satisfy that requirement, the crane operator must be certified by a school accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency, such as the NCCCO, which includes written testing, practical examinations, and more.

The actual requirements for operating cranes in construction are not explicitly spelled out, but OSHA regulations spell out that in order to be certified, the operator must demonstrate:

  • The skills, knowledge, and ability to recognize and avert risk are necessary to operate the equipment safely, including those specific to the safety devices, operational aids, software, and the size and configuration of the equipment. This includes things like lifting capacity, boom length, and counterweight setup.
  • The ability to perform the hoisting activities required for assigned work, including, if applicable, blind lifts, personnel hoisting, and multi-crane lifts.

In other words, if you demonstrate both knowledge of what makes a crane operation work and the ability to execute these skills, then you ought to be certified by your accredited school.

The certificates for crane operators last five years, after which you will need to be recertified.

How Do I Get Recertified for Operating Cranes in Construction?

There’s good news for aspiring crane operators here: as long as you have a minimum number of hours of crane experience during the assessment period, that will satisfy the requirements for a practical test, according to a 2012 OSHA memo. However, you must still pass a “written exam that meets the requirements of § 1926.1427(j)(1),” so if you’re hoping to meet your recertification process with no test at all required, unfortunately, you’re out of luck.

Fortunately, it isn’t hard to get certified (or recertified) for using cranes in construction when you work with a reputable agency. For aspiring crane operators or crane operators looking to get recertified in the Pacific Northwest, consider West Coast Training. We’ll teach you all the skills you need to be OSHA certified and then some.