A new clarification from OSHA on March 18, 2014 shed more light on why it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure an employee is a “qualified rigger” when working with cranes and derricks in construction.

Last year, an international association of bridge workers asked if a “qualified evaluator (third party)” that provides training and qualification for a signal person could do the same for a person who wants to be a “qualified rigger”.

OSHA’s answer was a heavily qualified yes, but on just the training. They said the qualified third party can provide the training, and an employer may consider the training and evaluation of a qualified third party evaluator in its assessment of the employee, but it is always the employer’s responsibility to decide whether that employee is a qualified rigger.

OSHA went on to explain, that although the third party may provide high-quality classroom and hands on instruction, they must be capable to work safely on the specific lift they are assigned to. This depends heavily on the type of rigging and worksite conditions and being able to recognize and resolve rigging issue at that particular worksite.

The regulation defines a “qualified rigger” as: a rigger who meets the criteria for a “qualified person”.

Which leads to a “qualified person” being: “a person who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, successfully demonstrated the ability to solve/resolve problems relating tot he subject matter, the work, or the project.”

This distinction shows the difference in the standard between determining a qualified rigger and a qualified signal person. The regulation allows for documentation from a “qualified evaluator (third party)” to determine a qualified signal person, but determining a qualified rigger is ultimately up to the employer even though they can take into consideration outside training.

2014 Interpretations

In addition to creating new and updating current regulations, OSHA publishes interpretations and answers to questions about existing rules.

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