OSHA Crane Operator Certification

A final OSHA regulation goes into effect on November 10, 2017 requiring crane operators to be certified in the United States. The regulation, set into motion approximately six years ago, sets standards for the way cranes are used in construction. Since the adoption of this regulation is the requirement for operators to be certified, which will be effective in November of this year. Originally, the industry was given four years for the provision, but the deadline was extended by three additional years when the industry requested changes.


The 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC rule applies to cranes and derricks used in construction. The lines between construction, general industry, and maintenance are somewhat blurry. OSHA defines construction as "work for construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating." Will you be delivering something heavy to a job site, using a crane to pick it up and move it? That's considered construction. Will you be hoisting roof trusses from a truck and setting them on the ground? That falls under general industry. A good rule of thumb? If you are unsure if your specific crane operating falls under any of these categories, it's a good idea to get certified. Certification provides a step up in the industry, allowing you to take on broader work.


What does OSHA's provision mean for you? If you are a crane operator, you cannot work legally in the United States without certification by an accredited certification organization. There are a few exceptions, including cranes with a capacity at or below 2,000 pounds. If you have not begun the process, it's crucial that you begin now. Why should you get a head start?

  1. There are two exams - written and practical - and both must be passed. If you operate more than one type of crane, you may need additional exams.

  2. Scheduling your exam may take some time. The written test can be done on the computer, but due to equipment availability, the practical test often requires more time to schedule.

  3. The testing organization needs time to score the exams. If you passed, they also need time to issue certification cards.

  4. If you don't pass the first time - you must allocate time to schedule a retake.

  5. You may consider pre-exam training, which will also add time to the process.

Available CCO Operator Certifications:

  • Lattice Boom Trucks

  • Lattice Boom Crawler Cranes

  • Telescopic Boom Cranes - Swing and Fixed Cab

  • Service Truck Cranes

  • Boom Trucks

  • Tower Cranes

  • Overhead Cranes

  • Articulating Cranes (Knucklebooms)

  • Digger Derricks

  • Dedicated Pile Drivers

  • Foundation Drill Rigs (in development)

Schedule your exam and get certified before it's too late. For more information visit www.nccco.org.

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