January 2010—Under an agreement with Washington State’s Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), the National Commission for Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) recently compiled and made available accreditation exams for crane certifiers. Working closely with Washington state representatives and crane subject matter experts, NCCCO spearheaded the effort aimed at improving the safety of all cranes used for construction in the state of Washington.
Effective January 1, 2010, the Construction Crane Rule (WAC 296-155-531 through WAC 296-155-53112) requires that all mobile and tower cranes used for construction in the state must be certified by an Accredited Crane Certifier. According to the new rules, all cranes used for construction must be inspected and load tested by a crane certifier annually and after any significant modification or significant repair of structural parts. Further, tower cranes must be inspected by crane certifier both prior to assembly and following erection; they must also be recertified after jumping (raising mast).
Washington state government and industry representatives teamed with NCCCO to launch the new crane certification program, which took effect on January 1, 2010, and applies to all cranes used on construction sites.
These new rules were implemented as a result of several highly visible crane accidents over the past few years, including a fatal accident in Bellevue in November 2006. L&I was subsequently tasked with ensuring that all cranes used for construction are inspected and certified for use and contracted with NCCCO to develop appropriate exams to accredit the crane certifiers. In addition to drawing together the expertise needed and preparing exam content, NCCCO also administers the Washington State crane certifier exams, providing an impartial, third-party assessment of certifier knowledge.
“Our aim is to be best crane program in the country—the world, even,” remarked Judy Schurke, Director, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. Pointing to the team effort required to complete and implement the exams under a tight deadline, she went on to say, “We have been fortunate to have benefited from such an excellent group; they have done a huge amount of work. This is an extraordinary achievement for crane safety.”
Receiving a Plaque of Appreciation from NCCCO’s Executive Director, Graham Brent are (l to r): Washington State Department of Labor and Industries executives Judy Schurke, Director; Chuck Lemon, Crane Safety Manager; Michael Silverstein, Assistant Director; and Larry Markee, Safety Compliance Supervisor.
Three tests are available: the Washington General Crane Certifier Examination, the Mobile Crane—Specific Inspection Criteria and Proof Load Test Exam, and the Tower Crane—Specific Inspection Criteria and Proof Load Test Exam. The Articulating Crane and Overhead Crane accreditation exams will be available in January 2010.
The basic steps for becoming a Washington State Construction Crane Certifier are: (1) meet all the accreditation criteria; (2) submit an application to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries; and (3) take and pass the appropriate crane operator certification written exam, from an accredited test provider, in the crane type which the candidate is pursuing accreditation as a certifier.
Complete details are available on NCCCO’s Washington Central page and on the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries website.