Third in a series profiling NCCCO Test Integrity
February 2011 - Two key factors that enhance the integrity of CCO exams and certifications are the NCCCO Code of Ethics and the disciplinary procedures in place to address any breaches of this code. The Code of Ethics and subsequent disciplinary procedures were developed by NCCCO staff and Committee members, approved by the NCCCCO Commissioners, and ratified by the NCCCO Board of directors.
To be eligible for certification, all CCO-certification candidates must sign a statement that they will abide by the Code of Ethics applicable to the particular certification they are seeking. Signing this statement not only underscores the candidates’ commitment to safety, but it also acknowledges that failure to adhere to the Code of Ethics is grounds for denial or revocation of their certification.
The Commission periodically reviews the Code of Ethics and the disciplinary actions that arise from violations for their effectiveness in maintaining competencies and protecting certificants, their employers, and the public.
NCCCO has established policies and procedures to address alleged violations of the Code of Ethics are processed fairly and consistently. The complaints procedures have been designed to ensure that only valid and actionable complaints are investigated and considered. These procedures also ensure that all parties involved in the complaint have an opportunity to document circumstances warranting the complaint and to respond to the complaint.
NCCCO uses a three-tier process (investigation of complaints, adjudication of complaints, and an appeal process) to ensure that issues regarding the practice and conduct of certificants are fairly and reasonably investigated and determined, and to protect the public against unprofessional and unethical conduct by certificants.
Complaints against certificants are initially investigated by NCCCO’s Manager of Test Integrity Robert Sampson, who reports to NCCCO’s Ethics and Discipline Committee. “The initial step of all investigations is to determine whether a violation did, in fact, occur, and whether the alleged offender is an NCCCO certificant,” explains Sampson. “In cases where a real breach of conduct has occurred, a formal sanction or revocation of certification may be required.”
If a complaint is considered actionable, the Ethics and Discipline Committee informs both the certificant and the complainant of the official opening of the investigation. Following the investigation of the complaint, the Ethics and Discipline Committee informs the certificant and the complainant of its decision and the appropriate type of disciplinary action.
“The main message we wish to convey through this policy,” stated NCCCO’s Executive Director, Graham Brent, “is that violations of safe operating practices by those holding certification will not be tolerated. We will not hesitate to revoke certifications from those who fail to live up to the high standards that this certification represents.”
Grounds for revocation of certification status include, but are not be limited to, the following:
- Evidence of non-compliance with the Code of Ethics
- Evidence of culpability in an accident during certification period
- Evidence of non-compliance with ASME B30 medical requirements
- Evidence of non-compliance with NCCCO’s Substance Abuse Policy
- Evidence of falsification of any information on any documents submitted to NCCCO or its agents
- Period of certification exceeded without renewal
if a sanction is imposed, the certificant may request an appeal of the decision to the NCCCO Board of Directors whose decision is final.
Taken together, NCCCO’s codes of ethics and the respective disciplinary procedures provide substance to CCO certifications and enhance the professional status of all who carry CCO-certification cards. The result is a safer job site for all whose work brings them into contact with cranes and other lifting equipment.