November 2008 – Crane operators in Pennsylvania will be required to be licensed by the state under the provisions of a bill approved by the legislature, October 8. Crane operators would have until 2010 to comply with the new law.
House Bill 647, which passed unanimously in the Senate and overwhelmingly in the House, covers operators of most mobile cranes of 15 tons capacity and above, as well as tower cranes of 10 metric tons or more. Under the terms of the rule, an individual may not operate a crane, nor offer himself for employment as a crane operator, unless licensed by the state.
A central requirement for licensure is certification from the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) or other organization meeting the applicable ASME standard and accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
Crane licensing categories include, but are not limited to, tower crane, lattice boom crawler, lattice boom truck, telescopic boom (rotating control station), and telescopic boom (fixed control station).
Unlike crane operator requirements in many other states, Pennsylvania’s licensing law is not limited to construction activities. However, excluded are cranes used in coal mining, longshoring, or manufacturing operations. Also not covered are digger derricks, forklifts, bucket trucks, and tow trucks.
The new law will establish a Board of Crane Operators within the Department of State consisting of the Commissioner of Professional and Occupational Affairs, two public members and four professional members. Professional members must have been actively engaged in crane-related operations in Pennsylvania for at least five years immediately preceding appointment.
Trainees may operate cranes so long as they have passed a written examination by an organization such as NCCCO and are under the immediate supervision of a crane operator. For a one-year period only, individuals may be licensed if they pass the NCCCO practical exam or can document to the Board’s satisfaction at least five years’ experience specific to the type of crane for which they are seeking licensure.
The new rule provides for reciprocity with other states, as well as with Canada. However, only individuals who also hold CCO certification from the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) may be issued a license to work in Pennsylvania.
The passage of the Pennsylvania law brings to a close a four-year journey for a bill which survived numerous hearings and rewrites before consensus was achieved among all interested parties last month. It also brings to sixteen (16) the number of states with certification and/or licensing requirements for crane operators. Full information on these, as well as the text of the Pennsylvania bill, can be found on NCCCO’s Pennsylvania Central page.