HISTORY OF THE OECP
It has traditionally been the goal of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), the
contractors who have signed labor agreements (Signatory Contractors), and their respective associations,
to maintain the highest levels of safety, skill, performance, and competence for their members. These
entities have always been in the forefront of state-of-the-art training techniques--in the classroom,
with hands on training, and on the jobsite.
Over the years, cranes in construction have received increased attention from the public, industry, the media, and regulatory agencies. Unfortunately, this attention has usually been the result of a major crane accident. In the construction industry, cranes represent a very small percentage of the total heavy equipment found on the jobsite--yet they account for a significant portion of the construction accidents that result in one or more fatalities. The cost of these accidents can be staggering in human life, property damage, and subsequent legal liabilities. Although both industry and regulatory agencies have recognized the need for the certification of crane operators, it has historically been difficult to achieve because of the wide diversity of the available crane types in this industry.
With the recent adoption of the new Fed-OSHA regulations (29 CFR 1926.1400), and many states which have enacted, or are in the process of enacting, regulations will require some form of crane operator certification. The IUOE and its Signatory Contractors are some of the strongest supporters of this legislation. This support has been realized through the development of a joint labor/management nationally accredited crane operator certification program.
An historical timeline of the program includes the following key events:
July 2002 -- In response to California State legislation mandating crane operator certification, the Southern California Crane & Hoisting Certification Program (SCCHCP) is formed by a labor/management committee and begins assessment and certification services under the auspices of IUOE Local 12 training sites.
November 2004 -- The SCCHCP obtains national accreditation from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) for its mobile crane operator certifications.
May 2005 -- The SCCHCP obtains national accreditation from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) for its tower crane operator certification.
June 2008 -- With increased use of SCCHCP certifications across the country, the program reorganizes and incorporates as the Operating Engineers Certification Program (OECP).
October 2008 -- The U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the OECP that recognizes OECP certifications as meeting applicable regulations and standards in the determination of crane operator competence.
March 2009 -- The OECP signs agreements with the National Training Fund of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) to provide assessment services and certifications for all IUOE locals throughout the nation desiring such services.
April 2010 -- The OECP receives reaccreditation for an additional five (5) years from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) for its mobile, overhead and tower crane operator certifications.
November 2010 -- Fed-OSHA implements the new standard for Cranes and Derricks in Construction, Subpart CC, 29 CFR 1926.1400. Several regulations are now to be enforced including national crane operator certification, which will have an enforcement date of November 2014.
July 2011 -- The OECP obtains national accreditation from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) for its overhead crane operator certification.
January 2014 -- The OECP, under direction of its board of directors, creates the OECP Certification Development Committee to develop assessment tools to test for Qualified Signalperson / Qualified Rigger, in addition to Advanced Rigger-Assembly/Disassembly Director for IUOE members.
July 2014 -- Fed-OSHA, after public outcry from contractors and all four (4) certification bodies, reopens the discussion of crane certification. This was due to the certification by a nationally accredited certification body and that the crane operator was to be certified by “type and capacity” instead by “crane type.’ OECP is actually the only accredited program that is in compliance with the new federal regulations.
October 2014 -- Fed-OSHA grants a delay in enacting 29 CFR 1926.1427 to allow those involved to resolve the “type and capacity” rule.
November 2014 -- Fed-OSHA moves the enactment date of 29 CFR 1926.1427 to November 2017.
March 2015 -- The OECP receives reaccreditation for an additional five (5) years from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) for its mobile, overhead and tower crane operator certifications.