Norther New England's premier source for crane-related training and certification programs

Winter 2014

New England Crane School’s 2014 Class Schedule

January 27 – 30, 2014
Operator certification class, sponsored by Associated General Contractors of Vermont (AGCVT), Montpelier, VT

February 3 – 6, 2014
Operator certification class, Portland, ME

February 7, 2014
Signal/rigging class, Portland, ME

February 20, 2014
Signal/rigging class, sponsored by AGCVT, Montpelier, VT

February 25 – 28, 2014
Operator certification class, sponsored by Associated Builders and Contractors of NH-VT, Concord, NH

March 24 – 27, 2014
Operator certification class, sponsored by Woods CRW Corp and AGCVT, Burlington, VT

March 28, 2014
Signal/rigging, sponsored by Woods CRW Corp and AGCVT, Burlington, VT

April 16, 2014
Signal/rigging, sponsored by AGCVT, Montpelier, VT

We also offer onsite classes at your location! For more information, to register for a public class, or to get a quote for an onsite class, call 603-614-4331 or email

The Latest News from OSHA

The first crane operator

In September we wrote a letter to the OSHA office in Washington, DC asking for updates on the proposed extension for crane operator certification. We received the following response:

“Currently, employers have a duty to ensure that a crane operator is qualified to operate a crane safely. Without action by OSHA, once the November 10, 2014 effective date passes, the employer’s duty to ensure operator qualification will end, leaving certification as the sole benchmark of operator qualification under the cranes standard. In April 2013, OSHA held two informal stakeholder meetings to solicit comments on the current crane operator certification requirements…Many stakeholder participants asserted that obtaining certification did not necessarily mean that an operator was full qualified to operate a crane safely, and that the employer should retain the responsibility of ensuring the operator’s qualifications. In the upcoming proposed rule, OSHA is not only proposing to extend the effective date for operator certification, it will also propose to extend the employer’s existing duty to verify operator competency.”

What does this mean? We weren’t completely sure, so we sought interpretation from some of our contacts. Alex Farmer in the CIC’s Atlanta office commented, “OSHA is giving the OECP (the union) and NCCCO time to update and change their programs. They are doing so with the backing of those organizations and OSHA will have greater depth and breadth to fine employers. Meanwhile, the best thing all of us can do is to keep communicating with OSHA.”

Jay Sturm, owner of Cranes Aerial Truck Service and Cranes 101 and a member of the ANSI standards committee and the CIC board, said, “If you employ a crane operator, November 11, 2014 is going to be a very important date for you. This is the date that the certification of crane operators is going to get delayed from. What this means for employers is that you are required to provide the same level of crane operator training specified in Subpart CC because there is no mandate for certification until 2017. This leaves you two options:

1. Get your crane operators certified by an accredited entity: CIC, NCCCO, OECP, NCCER or an accredited state program.
2. Put together a training program yourself. The program must comply with OSHA Subpart CC standards. The best way to ensure the training is in compliance is to have it accredited by an OSHA-recognized accrediting agency like the NCCA or ANSI.”

The bottom line for us at New England Crane School is that we don’t think you should wait to get your operators certified. Of course, we’re biased, because we think the education that goes with the certification process makes you a safer operator and constitutes an important first step toward the employer’s duty to ensure qualification, and because we want your business. But there are other reasons to consider. More and more GCs and insurance companies are requiring certification; we get frequent calls from panicked employers who suddenly realized they couldn’t bid a particular job until they got at least one of their operators certified, and now they’re running out of time to get it done. Many states continue to have their own licensing program and some are accepting (or eventually will accept) a nationally accredited certification in lieu of their own state licensing exams. And some insurance writers, such as HIIG, an A level provider, discounts premiums for companies with certified crane operators.

Check out our 2014 class schedule to see dates and locations for our 2014 winter/spring schedule of operator test preparation and certification classes.

New CIC Exam Categories

Last spring, the CIC began offering an exam classification for articulating cranes and digger derricks.  New England Crane School has already completed several of these certifications for our customers. 

In October the CIC announced a new service/mechanics truck certification category, which is available now, and this December they announced that a friction crane designation will be available in 2014.  We’re also aware that the CIC is working on new exam categories for tower cranes and overhead cranes, although we don’t have any specifics on when these will be available. For more information on any of these new certification categories, call us at 603-614-4331.

Frequently Asked Questions about Qualified Signal Persons and Riggers

Q: When do I need to have a qualified signal person on the jobsite?
A: When the point of operation is not in full view of the operator; when the operator’s view is obstructed in the direction the equipment is traveling; or when either the operator or the person handling the load determines that a signal person is required because of site-specific safety concerns.

Q. What are my options for meeting the requirement?
A: Basically you have two options.  You can send your people to a qualified third-party provider like us.  Or you can use your own, in-house, qualified evaluator to train, assess and document the qualification of your people.  An in-house assessment is not portable, so if a signal person moves to another employer he will have to obtain new documentation of qualification from either a qualified third party or the new employer.  A third-party provider qualification such as ours is portable.  In either case, qualified signal persons must have their documentation available on the jobsite.

Q. When do I need to have a qualified rigger?
A: OSHA says: “Employers must use qualified riggers during hoisting activities for assembly and disassembly work.  Additionally, qualified riggers are required whenever workers are within the fall zone and hooking, unhooking, or guiding a load, or doing the initial connection of a load to a component or structure.”

Q. Who can be a qualified rigger?
A.  Anyone who has a recognized degree, certificate or professional standing; or has extensive knowledge, training or experience; and can successfully demonstrate the ability to solve problems related to rigging loads. A qualified rigger only needs to be able to do the type of rigging he is actually doing; he doesn’t need to be qualified to rig any load.  And once again, using a third party training provider is not required, although it can certainly make it easier.

Q.  Is a certified operator automatically a qualified signal person or rigger?
A. No. Operators must show documentation of signal person qualification and meet the requirements for a qualified rigger just like anyone else.  When you send your operators to one of New England Crane School’s operator certification classes we usually offer a free registration to a Qualified Signal Person and Basic Rigging class that same week for those operators who need it.

Q.  If I come to one of New England Crane School’s signal/rigging classes, how long is my card good for?
A. OSHA does not require us to put an expiration date on our cards, so we don’t. Our recommendation is that if you work regularly with cranes, you should document your experience and keep in on file in case anyone asks about it years down the road. If , however, you work with cranes just once in a while, we recommend that you come back roughly every five years for a refresher. 

Happy holidays from
New England Crane School!

©2014 New England Crane School

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