US crane licences suspended

11 April 2008

The US government has suspended 129 crane operators' certificates in New York State after discovering that licences were issued to individuals who had failed the practical exam.

An investigation by the Office of the State Inspector General found the certificates had been wrongly issued between 1972 and 2000, prompting the Labor Department to suspend them.

“This is a public safety issue. As of today [8 November], these crane operators are not certified to operate a crane in New York State. We are urging them to retake the practical exam or their licences will be revoked,” said Labor Commissioner M Patricia Smith.

The Labor Department is now conducting an audit of some 3,000 state crane operators to ensure their certificates were issued based on a passing score. It is expected this will lead to further suspensions, said the department.

“It is absolutely essential that the public feel safe and certain that New York State is licensing only qualified workers. My office is continuing to examine crane operators' certification and we welcome any relevant information,” added State Inspector General Kristine Hamann.

Having looked into the safety records of operators who had failed their exams, the Labor Department found that five had been involved in crane accidents. Four of the accidents were mechanical in nature.

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