5 Reasons Not to Wait for Certification

November 10th will be here before we all know it. If you’re not sure of why that date is important, then we might need to talk.  The mobile crane industry in construction has had 7 years to prepare for certification requirements, but we are still hearing from many individuals and companies that they are just becoming aware of the regulations.

This might be because the law is not just limited to the lattice and telescopic boom cranes we typically think of working on construction sites, but applies to any crane working under OHSA 1926 regulations. This includes articulated boom cranes and loaders, boom trucks, digger derricks, overhead cranes, pedestal cranes, or most any crane with a rated capacity over 2,000 lbs. So companies who work on the fringes of the construction industry—sign installers, roofers, air conditioning contractors and seawall/dock contractors (just to name a few)—are all being impacted.

The basics are that all operators working in the construction field must be certified by an accredited crane operator testing organization. It includes ALL professions that use a crane in a construction-related way, including constructing new bill boards, repairing roofs, replacing air conditioning units, and installing docks, etc.

The crane operators who are not certified after November 10th cannot legally work in the U.S. construction industry.

5 Reasons to Start Now

In a recent post by the NCCCO, they stated that it is vitally important, if you or your company have not begun the certification process, start now; we couldn’t agree more! If you wait till October thinking you will have plenty of time you might find yourself unable to work come November. Why is getting started NOW important? Well certification doesn’t happen “overnight.” Instead look at it this way and add up the amount of time it can take:

  1. Operators should consider attending a prep course, such as the NCCCO Certified Operator Prep Class that Crane Tech provides.
    • For individuals, while we have programs every month, waiting for the next one can add additional time and you want to make sure you meet application deadlines (usually 2 weeks in advance), so you are not paying additional fees.
    • For companies wanting to hold training and testing at their location with Crane Tech, you must allow 4 to 6 weeks to submit the Test Site application and receive the permission to use your crane.
  2. You must pass both written and practical exams to be certified. If you run more than one type of crane, you’ll need to take additional specialty exams (both written and practical) for each type.
  3. Both written and practical exams have to be scheduled.
    • Written Exams – Whether you choose to take a test with a paper and pencil (Crane Tech’s method) or use a computer-based testing center, test times have to be scheduled and are subject to availability.
    • Practical Exams – due to equipment availability, locating and scheduling a practical exam(s) provider may require even more lead time.
  4. You need to allow time for the NCCCO to score your exams and, if you passed, issue certification cards. This could take between 4 and 8 weeks depending on the volume of exams the NCCCO is managing.
  5. You or your operators may not pass the written or the practical exam the first time, so you need to allow time to schedule re-testing, BEFORE November 10th.


Crane Tech can help you every step of the way by providing the prep training and all required exams at your location or at our Tampa Training Center.

Getting Ready for Certification

For more on what’s involved with getting ready for Certification, check out these previous posts:

Seat Time for Certification

Do I Need A CCO Prep Course?

Remember, Safety through Education is more than just our motto it is our guiding principle. Should you need assistance with either the knowledge portion or the skills portion for the CCO certification exams, we have options to assist both individuals and companies with compliance.

  • Qualified Mobile Crane Operator– Course for new and experienced operators that will teach the critical elements of operation for all mobile crane types. Great for new operators who have another opportunity to gain seat-time on their own or for long time operators who have never attended a formal training program.
  • Professional Operator Development– Extensive three week course for new operators that includes the Mobile Crane Operator program, Qualified Rigger Level 1 Course, 1 week of hands-on training, and the NCCCO Prep Course/Exams. Perfect for individuals who want to learn how to operate a mobile crane or those needing knowledge and hands-on training to get ready for CCO certification.
  • NCCCO Certification Prep– Class specifically designed to help prepare experienced and trained operators to gain their CCO operator certification. Provides a review of the regulations, safe operating practices and load charts for the CCO written exams. The program ends with NCCCO written and practical examinations (does not include hands-on training).

Think you are ready for Certification?


Click here to sign up for a FREE NCCCO Practice Test.


4 Responses to “5 Reasons Not to Wait for Certification”

  1. Brendan Nair says:

    I believe the information you have published above is misleading. Not all articulating boom loader (ABL) operators are required to have a certification. There are exemptions within that crane category which apply to many building supply distributors (Drywall Suppliers). The exemptions from OSHA’s 1926 Crane Standard are listed below:
    1926.1400 (c) 17 (i) (ii) – Exclusions –
    This subpart does not cover:
    (17) Material Delivery
    (i) Articulating/knuckle-boom truck cranes that deliver material to a construction site when used to transfer materials in a particular sequence for hoisting.
    (ii) Articulating/Knuckle-boom cranes that deliver material to a construction site when the crane is used to transfer building supply sheet goods or building supply packaged materials from the truck crane onto a structure, using a fork/cradle at the end of the boom, but only when the truck crane is equipped with a properly functioning automatic overload prevention device. Such sheet goods or packaged materials include, but are not limited to: sheets of sheet rock, sheets of plywood, bags of cement, sheets or packages of roofing shingles, and rolls of roofing felt.

    Thank you

    • Crane Tech says:

      Brendan – Thank you for the comment, it is never our intent to be misleading and we have removed the text “drywall installers” from the post, but just because you are talking about drywall delivery, it doesn’t necessarily mean the supplier is exempt. The law goes on to state:

      1926.1400(c)(17)(iii) – This exclusion does not apply when:
      (A) – The articulating/knuckle-boom crane is used to hold, support or stabilize the material to facilitate a construction activity, such as holding material in place while it is attached to the structure;
      (B) – The material being handled by the articulating/knuckle-boom crane is a prefabricated component. Such prefabricated components include, but are not limited to: Precast concrete members or panels, roof trusses (wooden, cold-formed metal, steel, or other material), prefabricated building sections such as, but not limited to: Floor panels, wall panels, roof panels, roof structures, or similar items;
      (C) – The material being handled by the crane is a structural steel member (for example, steel joists, beams, columns, steel decking (bundled or unbundled) or a component of a systems-engineered metal building (as defined in 29 CFR 1926 subpart R).
      (D) – The activity is not specifically excluded under § 1400(c)(17)(i) and (ii).

      Ultimately it is up to each company to determine their risk tolerance for whether they feel their activities would fall in the “excluded” portion or the “exclusions to the exclusions” if there were to be an incident (such as the crane tipping while holding drywall boards at a multiple story window).

      Best regards, Crane Tech

  2. Paul Russell says:

    Is this certification required for industrial plants for maintenance purposes ?

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