Do your knuckle boom crane operators have to be certified? The answer is, probably.

To find out, you’ll need to know whether you’re working in general industry or construction. But it’s the job, rather than site, that determines whether your articulating boom crane operator needs to be certified.

OSHA 29 CFR 1926.1427

In its standard on the topic, OSHA explain that, when materials are delivered, there are two major exceptions for articulating (knuckle-boom) truck cranes. In both these cases, the operator would not have to be certified.

  1. When the material is delivered to the work site and transferred directly to the ground, “without arranging the materials in a particular sequence for hoisting.
  2. When the material is placed onto a structure using a fork or cradle, if and only if the crane “is equipped with a properly functioning automatic overload prevention device”.

In any other situation, the operator of the knuckle boom crane must be certified. Even in the situations above, the operator must be certified if any of the following are true:

  1. If the articulating crane is used to hold or stabilize material while it is attached to a structure
  2. If the material is a prefabricated component.
  3. If the material is a structural steel member.

These serve as example from OSHA. They clarify that when a knuckle-boom (articulating) crane is used, the operator must be certified if “the activity is not specifically excluded under 1926.140o(c)(17)(i) and (ii) – the two exceptions listed above.

Still confused? Check out this great decision-tree from NCCCO

NCCCO articulating crane decision tree

Certify Unless You’re Sure

If you are absolutely sure your knuckle-boom crane is never used to stage materials in a particular way for construction, that it has an appropriate overload device and that it never delivers prefab components or structural steel, then you might not need the certification. But many operators and owners are choosing the ‘better safe than sorry’ approach.

NCCCO statistics show a 96% surge in written and practical exam testing in 2017, and another 28% rise in 2018, all in anticipation of the November 2018 federal rule on the issue. With the cost of one violation standing at $13,494, the numbers are persuasive enough.

How should you certify?

What are the requirements for knuckle-boom crane operators?

    • Once you have determined that your articulated cranes are used in construction, the employer must make sure that each operator is

Who trains knuckle-boom crane operators?

    • There are a number of third-party vendors to train your operators. Crane Inspection & Certification Bureau, founded in 1969, is the oldest in the business.

Who certifies knuckle-boom crane operators?

How often do knuckle-boom crane operators have to be certified?

    • Certification for crane operators, regardless of category, lasts five years.

Who evaluates knuckle-boom crane operators?

    • OSHA insists that “[t]he evaluator must be an employee or agent of the employer” and that employers always “retain the duty to ensure that the requirements … are satisfied”. The operator must demonstrate during the evaluation that they have the skills, knowledge and ability “to recognize and avert risk” and the “ability to perform the hoisting activities”. [1926.1427(f)]

Is there a Spanish-language articulating-boom crane certification?

View Articulating Boom Crane Training Schedule