Crane Operator Licensing: Pennsylvania

Since November 2008, crane operators in Pennsylvania have required a license issued by the state. Under the provisions of House Bill 647, approved by the Pennsylvania state legislature, crane operators had until 2010 to comply with the new regulation.

The bill covers operators of most mobile cranes of 15 tons capacity and above, as well as tower cranes of 10 metric tons or more. Under the terms of the rule, an individual may not operate a crane, nor offer himself or herself for employment as a crane operator, unless licensed by the state.

Crane licensing categories include, but are not limited to, tower crane, lattice boom crawler, lattice boom truck, telescopic boom (rotating control station) and telescopic boom (fixed control station).

Unlike crane operator requirements in many other states, Pennsylvania's licensing law is not limited to construction activities. However, excluded are cranes used in coal mining, long shoring or manufacturing operations. Also not covered are digger derricks, forklifts, bucket trucks and tow trucks.

A central requirement for licensure is certification from the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) or other organizations meeting the applicable ASME standard and accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

Trainees may operate cranes so long as they have passed a written examination by an organization such as NCCCO and are under the immediate supervision of a crane operator. For a one-year period only, individuals may be licensed if they pass the NCCCO practical exam or can document to the Pennsylvania State Board of Crane Operators' satisfaction at least five years' experience specific to the type of crane for which they are seeking licensure.

All of the first 204 applications the state board received in October 2010 were received from operators who had been CCO-certified by the NCCCO.

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