April 19, 2012New Requirements to Improve Construction Safety with Tougher, Modernized National Exams, New Training Courses and Mandated Re-Testing Every Five Years
New Exams are Updated More Frequently, Reflect Changes in Equipment Technology
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway and Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri today announced strict new licensing and testing requirements for all crane operators in New York City to raise safety standards for crane operations citywide. Starting next month, new applicants must obtain certification from either the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators, an accredited non-profit organization that develops performance assessments for safe crane operations nationwide, or an organization accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies or the American National Standards Institute. Previously, national certification was required in order to operate the smallest mobile cranes in the City. Developed by experts nationwide, exams offered by these certification organizations are updated more frequently than those currently used by the City to reflect updates in technology and require applicants to be tested on a variety of cranes rather than a single piece of equipment. By 2014, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration will require all crane operators to pass the exams offered by a nationally accredited organization as well as undergo re-testing every five years.
“Since 2008, we have adopted more than 25 new construction safety laws, increased inspector training and created new specialized units to ensure construction is safer today than at any other time in our history,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Now, we’re implementing stringent licensing requirements for crane operators– including tougher, modernized national exams, new training courses and mandated re-testing. Together with the experience requirements we are creating to ensure New York’s unique work environment is taken into account, these initiatives will make construction sites across our city even safer.”
“As construction methods continue to evolve, our testing methods must evolve with them to ensure that crane operators have the expertise necessary to safely operate increasingly specialized equipment,” said Deputy Mayor Holloway. “Requiring a comprehensive national exam, and pairing it with rigorous experience and coursework requirements that take New York City’s unique environment into account, we will continue to have the best-qualified, best trained people transforming our skyline and strengthening our infrastructure.”
“A better exam means a better crane operator on the job site,” said Commissioner LiMandri. “Veterans of any profession can suffer from complacency, but in the world of high-risk crane operations, it can lead to catastrophe. That’s why we’re proposing a new exam that will challenge the knowledge and skills of any crane operator and ensure he or she has the proper qualifications. Crane accidents in New York and other cities in recent years have showed us all that more oversight is needed over this industry, not less.”
Licenses for crane operators – known as Hoisting Machine Operators – are divided into three classes: Class C for small mobile cranes, Class A for medium-sized mobile and tower cranes and Class B for a crane of any size or capacity. The new requirements will go into effect 30 calendar days after the rule is published in the City Record on April 26, 2012. The new requirements already currently apply to applicants seeking a Class C license, and individuals who currently hold active Class A and B licenses will be required meet these requirements and obtain national certification by July 1, 2013 to retain their licenses.
On any construction site, crane operators are responsible for delivering materials throughout the property, and in such a dense urban environment as New York, it is critical to ensure these operators have the proper skills and experience to safely perform such work. Under the new requirements, new applicants seeking a Hoisting Machine Operator license will also be required to complete a 40-hour training course that covers New York City’s construction and safety regulations and unique environment, undergo a criminal background check, demonstrate physical fitness and comply with a substance abuse policy. Upon license renewal every three years, applicants must complete an 8-hour refresher training course.
To obtain a Class C license, an applicant must have:
To obtain a Class A license, an applicant must have:
To obtain a Class B license, an applicant must:
Unlike the City’s current exam, which is administered by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, applicants will be required to pass written and practical exams by certification organizations that are tailored to the specific equipment for which the license is to be issued. These organizations, such as the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators, will administer the exams at their facilities or facilities approved by the organization, and these certifications will demonstrate that an applicant has adequate knowledge and experience using the appropriate crane model.
The Department of Buildings will require an applicant to submit documentation certifying compliance with all of these requirements, and failure to provide accurate and truthful information could result in rejection of a license application as well as possible criminal charges. The Department will also periodically audit a random sample of the applications submitted and pursue disciplinary action against those found to have submitted fraudulent information, or who do not otherwise meet the necessary requirements. For more information on licensing procedures, visit www.nyc.gov/buildings.
Since 2008, the Department of Buildings has increased its oversight of the crane industry with expanded inspection checklists, more than 4,000 hours of training for crane inspectors and several new laws and requirements, such as: