Construction Best Practices

How to Prepare for OSHA’s New Crane Rule


If you work in construction, you’re familiar the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), whose standards regulate safety on the nation’s construction sites. You probably also know the agency isn’t known for making new rules quickly. We have seen a new silica rule that affects construction sites in the past year, though, and now we’re looking at a proposed crane operator certification rule, scheduled to go into effect this November.

Being compliant with OSHA regulations is imperative to a construction business’s success. We’ve seen a rise in OSHA fines and even criminal charges related to safety incidents recently. A violation can take a financial toll and hurt a company’s reputation. And a safety incident can lead to even more problems, not to mention physical harm to people and property.

Let’s take a look at what contractors need to know about the new OSHA crane operator rule and how organizations can stay on top of compliance issues with the right tools.

OSHA’s Crane Operator Proposal

Many skylines across America are punctuated with cranes these days as cities construct new housing, offices and other structures. OSHA’s proposed crane operator certification rule aims to make jobsites that use these cranes safer for employees and the public.

The new rule would change the certification categories for crane operators and discontinue the requirement that operators be certified for a specific crane lifting capacity. Additionally, it would put minimum requirements in place for determining crane operator competency.

The rule was originally scheduled to go into effect last November, but OSHA delayed its effective date until November 2018 to clarify the requirements and take into consideration comments from the construction industry. Stakeholders suggested that the previous certification for operators was inadequate for verifying whether an operator actually possessed the necessary skills to safely operate cranes.

According to an OSHA press release, “In addition to providing long-term clarity regarding crane operator certification requirements, the proposal reinstates the employer duty to ensure that a crane operator is qualified to safely operate equipment.”

In practical terms, employers will need to make sure their crane operators have the knowledge and skills they need, which will likely mean providing additional training on top of what’s required for certification.

OSHA was only recently accepting public comments on the rule, so it’s possible we’ll see further adjustments. In any case, contractors should keep an eye on this rule, as it’s still scheduled to go into effect later this year.

Construction software can help contractors manage OSHA compliance.

Construction Software to Manage Compliance

New regulations like this one highlight the fact that contractors have a lot of safety issues to keep track of. Compliance management is no small task. For a regulation like this crane operator certification rule, contractors need to ensure employees receive the necessary safety training and keep records that the training took place. Documentation is key for compliance, and it’s especially important if an accident ever does occur so you can demonstrate you followed the standard.

Integrated construction software that’s easily accessible to employees on the jobsite can help simplify compliance management. It enables managers to log training information, safety inspections and other needed documentation from the field, and it makes that information accessible right away to stakeholders throughout your organization when it is needed. Dedicated compliance management features built into these solutions can further assist by tracking compliance documentation and providing alerts when items need to be addressed, documentation is needed or reports need to be submitted.

To learn more about using software for compliance management, read our post How to Manage Compliance for Construction Success. If you’re interested in finding software that will fit the needs of your business, check out our Office / Team / Field solutions.