August 2011 - The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) has begun development of a new certification program for operators of digger derricks. Terex Utilities hosted the inaugural meeting of the Digger Derrick Task Force on June 27-29 in San Antonio, TX. The diverse group of approximately 20 participants at the meeting represented the various sectors involved with digger derrick operators, including utilities, manufacturers, operators, and end users.
The task force is led by co-chairs Dr. Josh Chard of Altec Corporation and Jim Olson of Terex Utilities. “NCCCO is delighted to be working with task force leaders whose companies are the major manufacturers of digger derricks,” said NCCCO Program Manager Joel Oliva. “These two industry leaders have identified the need for a certification program based on the unique characteristics of this equipment and the proven safety benefits of CCO certification over the past decade-and-a-half.”
The NCCCO Digger Derrick Task Force gathers at the end of their inaugural three-day meeting held June 27-29 in San Antonio. Pictured are task force co-chairs Josh Chard (second row, center, blue shirt) and Jim Olson (last row, behind Josh Chard)
“Quanta is proud to be taking a leadership role in the development of this new certification program,” said Quanta Services’ Vice President of Safety, Wilson Yancey. “Regardless of any regulatory requirement, we see the same safety benefits accruing for our digger derrick operators as CCO certification has provided for our crane operators over the years.”
Unlike typical construction cranes, digger derricks are multi-purpose machines primarily designed to dig holes, set poles, and position materials and apparatus in associated industries. They are also commonly configured for aerial device operations with fiberglass booms, platforms, and operator controls, and typically use synthetic rope instead of the wire rope used on cranes. “Due to their configuration and versatility, digger derricks are unique pieces of material handling equipment that demand their own operator testing protocols,” said Altec’s Director of Product and Corporate Safety, Dr. Joshua Chard.
NCCCO Commission Chairman, Kerry Hulse, confirmed that the task force will develop comprehensive written and practical tests that will provide the core elements of a fair, valid, and legally defensible certification program for digger derrick operators.
“The Digger Derrick Task Force will pursue an aggressive development schedule, with plans to meet every six to eight weeks to meet the program’s targeted launch in early 2012,” he noted.