Meeting the New OSHA Crane Operator Evaluation Requirements
OSHA’s new final rule regarding the evaluation and documentation of its crane operator qualifications became effective on February 7, 2019. It recently issued a press release that during the first 60 days of compliance (until April 15, 2019) it intends to offer compliance assistance, in lieu of enforcement to give construction industry employers more time to process the new final rule. To meet the evaluation’s requirements, crane employers and operators need to understand the following:
- Evaluation protocol: Employers must evaluate every crane operator through their demonstration of the skills and knowledge necessary to operate the equipment safely and the ability to recognize and avert risks associated with the operation. The evaluation also covers the operator’s ability to perform hoisting activities required for the work being assigned.
- Previously evaluated operators: For operators employed prior to the new final rule, employers may rely on previous assessments instead of conducting a new evaluation. The records must indicate the date of the assessment and the make, model and configuration of the crane on which it was done. Employers must also update past evaluations to meet the new documentation required by the new rule.
Evaluating Current Operators
An employer may allow an operator who has passed an evaluation on one piece of equipment to operate other equipment if it does not require substantially different skills, knowledge or ability to recognize and avert risk. No further evaluation is required. For example, according to OSHA’s final rule, an employer may have evaluated that an operator demonstrated the ability to safely operate a large crane in a complex configuration. As a result, the employer may determine that the operator has the requirements necessary to safely operate a smaller crane of the same type and operating system and, therefore, would not need to be re-evaluated.
If an employer learns that an operator is not competent in a necessary aspect of safe crane operation, retraining must be provided. When completed, the employer must re-evaluate the operator in whatever areas needed retraining.
How to Document
All operator evaluations must be documented and provide the operator’s name, the evaluator’s name and signature, the date of the evaluation, and the make, model, and configuration of equipment used during the evaluation. The employer needs to make the documentation available on the worksite (electronically works best), for as long as the operator is employed.
By learning OSHA’s new evaluation requirements, employers can reinforce crane operation safety and add value to their business. ProSight also adds value with unique products and solutions customized for the crane industry that go beyond traditional insurance coverage.
–Joseph Doerr, Program Underwriter for Cranes