In 2010 OSHA promulgated a final rule regulating cranes and derricks in the construction industry, Cranes and Derricks in Construction, Subpart CC (29 C.F.R. 1926.1400, et al.). Shortly after the final rule was issued OSHA published the Small Entity Compliance Guide on the new standard. Portions of the agency’s guidance created considerable conflict between OSHA and stakeholders involved in the use of cranes, including employers, unions, and firms that offer crane operator training and certification. Specifically, OSHA took the position that an operator is qualified to operator a crane if he is certified for the type and capacity of equipment or for higher-capacity equipment of that type.

In November 2012, the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) petitioned OSHA to reverse its interpretation and to amend the “capacity and type” language in 1926.1427(b)(1)(ii)(B) and 1926.1427(b)(1). Many within the industry believe that crane capacity should not be used as a factor for operator certification. In response to the IUOE’s petition and the concerns of the regulated industry, OSHA held stakeholder meetings in April 2013 to gather additional information. Following those stakeholder meetings, in May 2013 OSHA proposed to extend the compliance date for the crane operator certification and qualification requirements by three years to November 10, 2017.  After a public comment period on the proposed extension, in September 2014, OSHA announced that it was extending the crane operator certification requirements from November 10, 2014 to November 10, 2017, a three year extension. During this three-year period, it was the agency’s intention to develop a new standard that addressed operator qualification requirements including the role of operator certification.

Even if OSHA were to publish a proposed rule on crane operator certification today, the agency would not have enough time to solicit public comment and finalize a new rule by the current November 10, 2017 deadline.  So OSHA is now proposing to further delay the November 10, 2017 deadline by one year to November 10, 2018 to address the stakeholder concerns.

OSHA is accepting public comments until September 29, 2017.