Last month OSHA announced that it was seeking another one-year extension on the enforcement of its crane operator certification requirement. This news should come as a great relief to many crane operators still without their recertification completed since it provides an additional breathing room to allow the Agency to fix a language issue in the rule that the rest of the industry has complained about for a while now.
The language in question revolves around whether operator certification should be according to the capacity of the crane as well as its type, and whether an employer has additional responsibilities for ensuring their operators are qualified beyond certifying them.
In its official document, “Overview of Draft Proposed Regulatory Text for Crane Operator Qualification”, OSHA wrote that while certification would still include a written exam and a practical exam they also included that “certification will only be by type of crane—not by capacity.”
In that same document, OSHA noted in addition to being certified, crane operators would also have to be tested and evaluated on the same make and model of crane they plan to actually operate. It was only when OSHA got into the details of how they wanted the employer or certification representative to actually carry this out that things went downhill. Industry representatives at the March 2015 meeting of the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health (ACCSH), at which OSHA unveiled the controversial details of this proposal, pushed back hard against this announcement, as did ACCSH itself, both condemning the proposal as financially burdensome as well as impractical.
Operators and employers are both wondering if the additional year OSHA is requesting will really lead to the publication of a revised final rule on operator certification before the proposed new deadline of November 2018 takes effect.
OSHA had completed all of its work on revising the controversial language before there was a change in administration earlier this year that brought along with it its regulatory activity to a sudden halt.
OSHA’s Directorate of Construction has consistently affirmed over the three months prior to the inauguration that the proposed rule containing the new language was complete and was simply awaiting approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for its review.
Unfortunately, that never happened and with the November deadline marking the expiration of the three-year extension approaching quickly, OSHA has little option but to seek a further delay.
Affected parties are eagerly awaiting the outcome of this news release and the question on everyone’s mind now is: Will another year really make any difference?
Article References: www.osha.gov