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


Call for Volunteers: Side Boom Tractor Task Force Members Needed to Develop New Certification Program

March 15, 2023—CCO has announced plans to develop a new certification program for operators of side boom tractors (pipelayers). This development is a result of multiple industry requests, a desire to bring safety to operators of this equipment who encounter unique challenges and hazards, and to ensure compliance with ASME B30.14 and OSHA.

As specified by ASME B30.14, side boom tractors are powered by an internal combustion engine and used for pipe laying or lifting operations, utilizing boom, drum, wire rope, and/or hydraulic cylinders. There are currently approximately 42,000 of these machines in use today in the U.S.

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Volunteers for the task force that will develop the new Side Boom Tractor Operator certification program are currently being sought, with a goal to begin program development in the fall. Subject matter experts from all aspects of the industry, including users, manufacturers, consultants, labor, government/regulatory, insurance, owners, and associations, are invited to apply for a seat on the task force. Specific industry experience in the power, oil and gas, energy, construction, utilities, sewage, biofuel, and slurry industries will help tailor this program to typical operations that make this equipment unique, including lifting over the side, moving, and lifting in tandem with another tractor. These types of operations entail unique safety hazards involved with lifting near a trench and lifting in tandem.

The new CCO certification is intended to help users comply with ASME B30.14 qualification requirements for operators to complete satisfactorily written and operational exams.

Those who would like to participate on the task force are encouraged to complete and submit an application form. Experts in their respective fields will staff the task force and will be guided by CCO’s psychometricians and exam developers. Other experts will serve as item writers to develop the actual exam questions. As with the current CCO certification programs, a professional job task analysis will be conducted to serve as the foundation for exam development activities.

CCO Director of Certification Bob Mahlman stated that development of the new certification program would begin in the third quarter of 2023 and continue throughout 2024. “We are developing a schedule where the development of the program could be complete within 18 months of our first meeting,” he said.

Like all other certification programs that CCO has developed, this new Side Boom Tractor Operator program will rely on three major resources. “The new program will draw on industry support, subject matter expertise, and psychometric guidance,” said Mahlman. “All elements of the new program will be developed according to the same strict psychometric standards that are a hallmark of all of CCO’s certification programs. The resulting certification process will be fair, valid, reliable, and legally defensible.”

CCO’s expertise in the development of certification programs in the load handling industry and the widespread adoption of its programs make it the ideal organization to develop such a certification program. CCO was formed by industry in 1995 as an independent, non-profit organization to develop and administer a nationwide program for the certification of load handling equipment operators and related personnel. Over the past 28 years CCO has become known as the gold standard for operator and related certifications. CCO has administered over 1.5 million written and practical examinations and issued more than 726,000 ANSI-accredited and OSHA-compliant certifications; it currently offers more than two dozen certification designations across 14 certification programs.