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Subchapter 7. General Industry Safety Orders
Group 13. Cranes and Other Hoisting Equipment
Article 98. Operating Rules

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§5006.1. Mobile Crane and Tower Crane -- Operator Qualifications and Certification (Applicable to Cranes in General Industry Only).

(a) Qualifications. The employer shall only permit operators who have a valid certificate of competency (certificate) issued in accordance with this section by an Accredited Certifying Entity for the type of crane to be used to operate a crane covered by this section. Certificates shall be issued to operators who:
(1) Pass a physical examination conducted by a physician or other licensed health care professional (e.g. physician's assistant or nurse practitioner) which at a minimum shall include the examination criteria specified in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) B30.5-2000 standard, Chapter 5-3.1.2(a)(1-5, 7, 8) or the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) physical examination requirements contained in 49 CFR Sections 391.41 through 391.49.
(2) Pass a substance abuse test. The level of testing shall be consistent with the standard practice for the industry where the crane is in use and this test shall be conducted by a recognized laboratory service;
(3) Pass a written examination developed, validated, and administered in accordance with generally accepted industry best practices. The exam shall test knowledge and skills identified as necessary for safe crane operations and shall, at a minimum, demonstrate the following:
(A) operational characteristics and controls, including characteristic and performance questions appropriate to the crane type for which qualification is sought;
(B) emergency control skills, such as a response to fire, power line contact, loss of stability, or control malfunction;
(C) a demonstration of basic arithmetic skills necessary for crane operation and the ability to read and comprehend the crane manufacturer's operation and maintenance instruction materials, including load capacity information (load charts) for the crane for which certification is sought;
(D) technical knowledge of the subject matter criteria listed in 29 CFR 1926, Subpart CC, Appendix C applicable to the specific type of equipment the individual will operate. Use of the Appendix C criteria meets the requirements of this provision.
(E) technical knowledge applicable to:
1. The suitability of the supporting ground and surface to handle expected loads.
2. Site hazards.
3. Site access.
(4) Pass a “hands-on” examination to demonstrate proficiency in operating the specific type of crane, which at a minimum shall include pre-start and post-start inspection, maneuvering skills, shutdown, and securing procedures.
(b) Certification. Certificates shall be valid for a maximum of five (5) years. An Accredited Certifying Entity shall issue the certificate of competency to operators who successfully demonstrate the qualifications set forth in (a)(1)-(4) of this section.
(1) The accredited certifying entity shall have procedures for operators to re-apply and be retested in the event an operator applicant fails a test or is decertified.
(c) Accredited Certifying Entity. The crane operator testing organization providing the certification shall be accredited by an approved nationally recognized accrediting agency based on that agency's determination that industry-recognized criteria for written testing materials, practical examinations, test administration, grading, facilities/equipment, and personnel have been met.
(1) The accredited certifying entity shall have its accreditation reviewed by the nationally recognized accrediting agency at least every three years.
(d) Re-certification. Crane operators shall re-certify every five (5) years and shall be required to meet all of the qualifications set forth in subsection (a). Operators with at least one-thousand (1,000) hours of documented experience operating the specific type of crane for which re-certification is sought as covered by this section during the immediately preceding certification period and who meet the physical examination, substance abuse, and written examination requirements set forth in subsections (a)(1), (a)(2) and (a)(3) of this section shall not be required to take the “hands-on” examination specified in subsection (a)(4) to re-certify.
(e) Trainees may be authorized to operate mobile or tower cranes provided they are under the direct supervision of an operator possessing a valid certificate of competency for the type of crane operated by the trainee.
The term direct supervision means the supervising operator is in the immediate area of the trainee and within visual sighting distance and able to effectively communicate with the trainee. When performing direct supervision, the supervising operator shall have no other duties other than to observe the operation of the crane by the trainee.
(1) The operator-in-training shall not operate the equipment in any of the following circumstances unless the exception stated in subsection (e)(1)(E) is applicable:
(A) If any part of the equipment, load line or load (including rigging and lifting accessories), is operated up to the equipment's maximum working radius in the work zone [see Section 5003.1(a)(1)], could get within 20 feet of a power line that is up to 350kV, or within 50 feet of a power line that is over 350kV.
(B) If the equipment is used to hoist personnel.
(C) In multiple-equipment lifts.
(D) If the equipment is used over a shaft, cofferdam, or in a tank farm.
(E) In multiple-lift rigging operations, except where the operator's trainer determines that the operator-in-training skills are sufficient for this high-skill work.
Exceptions to Section 5006.1:
(1) Mobile cranes having a boom length of less than 25 feet or a maximum rated load capacity of less than 15,000 pounds.
(2) Operators of electric line trucks (digger derrick trucks) as defined in Section 2700 of the Electrical Safety Orders, and regulated by Section 2940.7 of the High Voltage Electrical Safety Orders. This exception does not include mobile truck cranes designed and built in accordance with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) B30.5 standards.
(3) Marine terminal operations regulated by Article 14 of these Orders.


Note: Authority cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code. Reference: Section 142.3, Labor Code.
1. New section filed 7-3-2003; operative 8-2-2003 (Register 2003, No. 27).
2. Amendment of subsection (f), Exception 2 filed 12-15-2006; operative 1-14-2007 (Register 2006, No. 50).
3. Amendment of subsection (c) filed 7-27-2009; operative 8-26-2009 (Register 2009, No. 31).
4. Amendment of section heading and section filed 7-26-2022; operative 7-26-2022 pursuant to Government Code section 11343.4(b)(3) (Register 2022, No. 30). Filing deadline specified in Government Code section 11349.3(a) extended 60 calendar days pursuant to Executive Order N-40-20 and an additional 60 calendar days pursuant to Executive Order N-71-20.

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