April 2010 – The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) officially launched its new Articulating Crane Operator (ACO) certification program in March.
Articulating cranes and loaders represent a large and growing proportion of cranes in use today, but until now operators had no independent means to demonstrate that they know how to operate these specialized cranes safely and effectively. Covering both articulating boom cranes and articulating boom loaders, this new program directly addresses a need identified by industry, and its launch has been eagerly awaited since development work began just over a year ago.
Participants and instructors gather at conclusion of an NCCCO Articulating Crane Practical Examiner Accreditation Workshop held at Bradco Supply’s Apollo Beach, Florida, facility in February.
“With this new certification, employers can now readily determine whether an operator is proficient with specific types of articulating cranes and loaders,” noted ACO Task Force Chairman, Tim Arkilander. NCCCO developed the program in cooperation with the Articulating Crane Council of North America (ACCNA) and its member companies. With guidance from NCCCO’s testing partner, International Assessment Institute (IAI), a task force of subject matter experts representing users, owners, and other stakeholders developed the written and practical tests that operators must pass to become certified. The task force identified the knowledge areas and tasks required for safe crane operation, then worked with IAI to develop certification examinations that are fair, valid, reliable, and legally defensible.
“We expect this new ACO certification to be popular with owners and employers who perceive the safety and cost benefits of a professionally developed assessment process and who recognize its place within a comprehensive risk management process, while meeting their obligations under state and federal requirements,” said NCCCO Program Manager, Joel Oliva. The new program meets or exceeds all current and proposed standards and regulations for crane operators, including OSHA’s proposed Federal Rule (otherwise known as C-DAC) that will revise Subpart N of the Code of Federal Regulations for cranes and is expected to become law this year.
The task force completed pilot testing of the new written and practical tests in January, and the second Practical Examiner Accreditation Workshop was held in February in Apollo Beach, Florida. Test courses for both articulating boom cranes and articulating boom loaders were set up, and workshop participants had to pass the corresponding practical examinations to become accredited. As a result of the two-day workshop, which was co-hosted by Bradco Supply Corp. and L&W Supply, eight more practical examiners were accredited to administer the practical tests leading to the new CCO certifications. To ramp up this program quickly and train enough examiners to meet the pent-up demand, NCCCO will hold more accreditation workshops throughout the year.
In addition to passing either or both practical tests, candidates must also pass at least one of three written examinations—for articulating boom cranes, articulating boom cranes with winch, and/or articulating boom loaders (also known as “material handlers” or “wallboard cranes”). The written examinations, which may be taken before or after the practical test, are also now available for administration at approved NCCCO written exam test sites.
NCCCO is currently seeking accreditation for this new ACO certification, such as its other crane operator certification programs have enjoyed since 1998.
NCCCO has posted on its website all the documentation required for candidates and test sites to prepare for the certification exams. Download free PDFs of the Articulating Crane Operator Candidate Handbook, ACO Test Site Coordinator Handbook, and Articulating Crane Reference Manual as well as a schedule of upcoming test administrations and Practical Examiner Accreditation Workshops. For further information, contact NCCCO at 703-560-2391 or firstname.lastname@example.org.