Crane operators are required to be certified by a third party training agency or a qualified trainer through their employer, according to the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO). This certification is required under a ruling from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that took effect on November 8, 2010. These certification requirements are for operators of mobile, tower, overhead and articulating cranes.
Every crane operator is required to pass a physical examination before being eligible to take the certification exam. This physical exam must be performed every three years. A person with a Department of Transportation medical certificate is exempt from the initial physical examiniation requirement but is required to have a follow-up physical examination within two years. Part of this exam requires the crane operator candidate to pass a drug test and be randomly drug tested throughout the certification.
Crane operators must take a two-part written test before being certified. The first section tests overall knowledge of crane operation. The second part specializes in one type of crane like a lattice boom crawler crane, a lattice boom truck crane or large or small telescopic boom cranes. A crane operator must pass the overall test and a specialty test to be certified. The operator can test and qualify for every model of mobile crane if the operator chooses to do so.
Crane operators must also take an operational test conducted by a third party training organization or other qualified trainer. This tests the operator on proficient operation of the type and model of crane the operator is to be certified or licensed to operate. The trainer has a list of operational techniques that the operator must perform at a satisfactory level in order to pass the test. Crane operation certification lasts five years, after which a crane operator needs to be recertified.