Check out our 2024 Corporate Sustainability Report!

Crane Hot Line

OSHA to Publish Final Crane Operator Certification Rule Nov. 9

November 9, 2018 - The U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) plans to officially roll out its final rule requiring certification and qualification of crane operators working in construction by publishing it in the Federal Register today, Friday, November 9, 2018.

The new final rule requires operators of cranes that have capacities of 2,000 lbs. or more and are working in construction to be certified by a federally recognized entity.
The new rule allows the certification to be either by crane type or by crane type and capacity. All operators of cranes covered by the new rule must be certified by 30 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register, so by December 9, 2018.
But certification alone is not enough.
The new rule also requires employers to evaluate crane operators’ competence for the particular crane they’re using and the application they’re using it in.
As an analogy using the vehicle world: Certification would be like passing the test to get an automobile driver’s license. Evaluation of competence would be like an employer making sure a licensed driver has the skill and experience to drive the company’s fully-loaded pickup truck on ice and snow before letting him or her drive in winter.
Employers have 90 days after the final rule is published in the Federal Register to evaluate all crane operators are covered by the new final rule, so until February 9, 2019, if the rule is published today, as planned.

OSHA has confirmed that enforcement will start on the dates the rule takes effect, 30 and 90 days after the rule is published in the Federal register. A table of OSHA fines shows that penalty amounts for various levels of OSHA violations can range from $12,934 for Serious or Other-Than-Serious violations, to $129,336 for willful or repeated violations.  

OSHA’s Summary:

OSHA is updating the agency’s standard for cranes and derricks in construction by clarifying each employer’s duty to ensure the competency of crane operators through training, certification or licensing, and evaluation.
OSHA is also altering a provision that required different levels of certification based on the rated lifting capacity of equipment.
While testing organizations are not required to issue certifications distinguished by rated capacities, they are permitted to do so, and employers may accept them or continue to rely on certifications based on crane type alone.
Finally, this rule establishes minimum requirements for determining operator competency. This final rule will maintain safety and health protections for workers while reducing compliance burdens.
Where to Find the Documents
The final rule is available online at, and on
Material in the electronic docket for this rulemaking, is available at



Crane Hot Line is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.