National Commission for the
Certification of Crane Operators
Committed to Quality, Integrity, and Fairness in Testing since 1995


New CCO Certification for Telehandler Operators Launches

November 22, 2022—CCO is announcing the first telehandler operator certification that meets OSHA 1926 and OSHA 1910 requirements. CCO developed its new CCO certification program for telehandler operators in response to numerous requests from industry so that users can garner the same increased safety benefits that users of other load handling equipment have seen through certification.

The new CCO Telehandler Operator program has designations for two types of telehanders: fixed and rotating. While standard telescopic handlers—also known as “fixed telehandlers”—have boom sections to lift and extend materials for placement, “rotating telehandlers” can lift, extend, and swing. This means that rotating telehandlers provide an additional dimension of operation, giving them additional crane-like capabilities that make them more likely to require certification. Currently there are many more fixed telehandlers models in the US than rotating models, but rotating versions have significantly enhanced capabilities, so they are rapidly gaining favor over legacy models.

Candidates seeking Telehandler Operator certification are required to complete a written exam consisting of 70 multiple-choice questions within one hour. They then have the option to take one of two practical exams, for Fixed Telehandlers or for Rotating Telehandlers. Passing the Fixed Telehandler practical exam leads to the Fixed Telehandler Operator (THF) certification designation. Because of its greater complexity, passing the Rotating Telehandler practical exam awards the candidate both the Fixed Telehandler Operator (THF) and Rotating Telehandler Operator (THR) designations.

Candidates will be able to apply for the new exams as early as December 1, the same day that the practical exams will be first available. The written exam will be available with the new Online Proctored Testing (OPT) option on January 9, 2023; the Event Online Testing (EOT) option will be available as of February 1, 2023.

The recent OSHA Compliance Directive to the crane rule (1926 Subpart CC) indicates that OSHA intends to enforce operator certification when forklifts have a boom/jib and a hoist. Additionally, under OSHA 1910.178, evaluation requirements already exist. ANSI/ITSDF B56.6 has requirements for the operator as well. CCO’s new telehandler operator certification will be the first certification available in the U.S. that meets all three standards. This provides the highest level of compliance for employers as well as the greatest flexibility for employees.

The CCO Telehandler Operator certification period is for three years. A practical (skills) examination, rather than written, is required for recertifica­tion. The three-year recertification interval as well as recertification requirement was chosen to be in compliance with the requirements of OSHA 1910.178, which requires that an evaluation be conducted at least once every three years.

As with other CCO certification programs, the task force first performed a job task analysis to identify the knowledge necessary for safe operations, then it created an exam blueprint that outlines the exam content, and finally subject matter experts wrote the actual exam questions and developed and pilot-tested the practical exams. 

“Given the sheer volume of telehandlers in the field today—easily topping 280,000 currently in the U.S. and rising fast—the CCO Telehandler Operator certification could easily surpass some of CCO’s more established credentials,” said Telehandler Task Force Chair Tony Dotto. “Thanks to all the task force members that contributed their time and efforts to make this happen.”

Get more information about the new CCO Telehandler Operator certification, or download the Telehandler Operator Candidate Handbook.