On November 25, 2019 the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an enforcement policy for crane operator certifications issued by Crane Institute Certification (CIC). OSHA requires crane operators engaged in construction activity to be certified by an entity accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency. CIC no longer holds such accreditation.
The policy (linked here and provided below as well) explains that, although CIC-issued certifications are not compliant with OSHA’s operator certification requirement, OSHA does not intend to cite employers for operating equipment that violates that requirement if their operators, in good faith, obtained CIC-issued certifications prior to December 2, 2019, with the belief the certifications met the standard’s requirements. Until further notice, OSHA will not accept CIC certifications – including re-certifications – issued on or after December 2, 2019.
Subpart CC—Cranes and Derricks in Construction requires crane operators to be certified by a certification body “accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency.” 29 CFR 1926.1427(d). The Crane Institute Certification (CIC) had previously been accredited by an organization that appeared to meet that requirement. However, CIC has informed OSHA it is not currently accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency. CIC also stated that it expects to receive that accreditation within the next few months. Therefore, operator certifications currently being issued by CIC do not meet the requirements of OSHA’s standard. Nevertheless, OSHA understands that CIC was previously accredited, and even after its accreditation lapsed, many employers may have acted in good faith by obtaining crane operator certifications from CIC that they believed would comply with OSHA’s requirements. The agency wishes to avoid unnecessary disruptions in the industry.
Temporary Enforcement Citation Policy
To eliminate construction industry confusion going forward, OSHA will consider whether crane operators acting in good faith obtained certifications issued by CIC prior to December 2, 2019 believing they met the requirements of the standard. Where such good faith is found, employers should not be cited for violating the operator certification requirement of 29 CFR 1926.1427(d). This policy will only apply until the expiration date listed on each certificate (that date cannot exceed the 5-year maximum specified in 29 CFR 1926.1427(d)(4)). OSHA will not accept CIC certification (including recertification) issued on or after December 2, 2019, as evidence of compliance with OSHA’s operator certification requirements in 29 CFR 1926.1427. Please contact the Directorate of Construction if there are any questions during compliance inspections about the validity of crane operator certifications issued by CIC.
OSHA intends to revisit this policy when CIC produces evidence that it is accredited in accordance with the requirements found in 29 CFR 1926.1427(d).