Coalition for OSHA certification resolution
03 November 2014
A group of ten construction industry organisations in the USA have formed a coalition to resolve issues with full implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Cranes & Derricks in Construction standard.
The Coalition for Crane Operator Safety (CCOS) will press to get it implemented before the new 2017 deadline. CCOS said it is working with members of Congress and the administration to ensure that the crane operator certification requirements in the Cranes & Derricks in Construction Standard are amended.
One area in dispute is an interpretation that certification be required both by crane type and capacity and the other is that certification constitutes qualification.
The final requirements were published in 2010, however the industry argues that these two requirements are counterproductive and a misinterpretation of the intent of OSHA’s Cranes and Derricks Advisory Committee (C-DAC).
James Callahan, general president of the International Union of Operating Engineers, a member of CCOS, said, “The uncertainty and delay around the new crane operator certification requirements jeopardises the safety of construction workers and the general public. It’s essential that OSHA gets it right, but we believe they can revise, correct, and re-issue the new certification regulation well ahead of the November 2017 extension date.”
Since all but one of the 42 sections in the 2010 Standard have been agreed upon and enacted, the industry is now waiting on OSHA to correct the two ineffectual provisions and present clear and effective certification requirements, a spokesperson said.
The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) is one of the organisations that have joined the group. Graham Brent, NCCCO chief executive officer, said the aim of the CCOS is to help ensure the OSHA provisions regarding certification bolster the construction industry, rather than hinder its progress. “While OSHA has confirmed it will address these concerns during the recently announced three-year delay, the industries supporting CCOS have created this coalition to ensure it is done right and done expeditiously,” he said.
Bill Smith, executive vice president of NationsBuilders Insurance Services, CCOS member, and former C-DAC representative, said, “Our primary issue with OSHA’s position on these matters is that it ignores the intent of C-DAC while adopting a literal interpretation of the language of the rule which, in some cases, was inserted by OSHA Coalition for Crane Operator Safety (CCOS) ensuring clear and effective OSHA crane operator certification requirements after C-DAC had completed and submitted its draft document.
“For the record, it was never the intent of C-DAC that crane operator certification should be according to the capacity of the crane, nor was it ever the intent of C-DAC to imply that crane operator certification was equal to qualification.”
Stephen Sandherr, chief executive officer of The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), also a CCOS member, said, “Adjudicating operator certification requirements based on capacity would add significant new complexity for employers and their employees without yielding any discernible improvement in safety. As significant, no national safety study has found any additional safety benefits beyond certification by type, and OSHA has not analysed the costs, benefits or other consequences of certification by capacity.”
Joel Dandrea, executive vice president of the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association and member of CCOS, said, “On the issue of certification equalling qualification, all organisations, companies, unions and interested parties agree that simply having certification does not automatically qualify an operator for any piece of equipment. Together, we are calling upon OSHA to fix and finalise the crane operator certification requirements, and we intend to work with both the Administration and Congress to make this happen.”