OSHA’s new crane operator certification rules will be delayed and will not take effect until November 2018 under a proposed rule published by OSHA on August 30th in the Federal Register. The primary purpose may be for OSHA to reconsider the rule’s requirements.A few months ago, OSHA announced its intent to issue this proposal. As we explained in June, OSHA first had to consult with the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH). OSHA’s latest notice also includes an economic analysis, concluding that the one-year extension “will produce a net savings for employers of $4.4 million.”

The delay means that crane operators will not have to meet the new certification requirements until November 10, 2018. However, in the meantime, OSHA requires that employers must ensure that crane operators are competent to operate the equipment safely.

The delay also means that the new leadership of OSHA may be re-thinking the rule. OSHA explained:

“[T]he primary rationale for this proposal is to maintain the status quo—including preservation of the employer duty to ensure that crane operators are competent—while providing OSHA additional time to conduct rulemaking on the crane operator requirements in response to stakeholder concerns.”

As we wrote in June, under the new certification requirements, any person operating a construction crane subject to OSHA’s cranes standard will have to be certified (except for operators of sidebooms or equipment rated at 2,000 pounds or less). Certification testing involves an equipment-specific written examination and a practical test.

Operators on civil projects can be certified or qualified by: 1) an accredited third party testing organization; 2) the employer through an audited employer program; or 3) licensing through a state or local government that meets OSHA’s minimum requirements. The employer will have to pay certification costs.

See our prior post for more background: Interested parties can submit comments on the proposed extension until September 29, 2017.