There is no question that there is a heightened awareness related to crane incidents which has created an increased attentiveness to crane inspections. There is also a never-ending list of agencies with standards and regulations that apply to crane inspections. OSHA Maritime, OSHA Crane and Derrick Standards, ANSI/ISO, and even state and local regulators are weighing in on the subject. And, it is not a regulated industry! In other words, anyone who considers themselves “qualified” can hang out a shingle and call themselves a “Crane Certifier.”
OSHA, the most relevant and recognized authority, requires that inspections be performed by a “qualified person.” OSHA says that a “Qualified person means a person who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive experience, successfully demonstrated the ability to solve/resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.”
There is clearly a lot of latitude here. Not only does it make it difficult to distinguish between good and bad inspectors, it also makes it permissible for a company to have an employee qualified to perform their own inspections. But, is having your own employee providing your crane inspections really the best practice? Do they bring varied experience on all types of cranes or just the ones you own? So, who is providing the inspections and certification on your cranes?
There are ways to vet qualified crane inspectors. Did you know that there is an organization of certified crane inspectors, CCAA (Crane Certifiers Association of America) that test their members and issues “certified crane surveyor” cards for mobile, tower, and overhead cranes? They have also teamed with NCCCO (National Commissions for the Certification of Crane Operators) to provide a nationally accredited certification program for becoming a certified crane inspector in any or all of the three crane disciplines.
Here are some key reasons you should consider using a certified independent certified crane inspector to perform your crane inspections:
- Certified Inspector: A certified inspector will have a working knowledge of cranes, experience as to what to look for, and certifications from accredited sources to provide you with a comprehensive, tested, and documented crane inspection.
- Reputable: A crane inspection performed by a reputable certified crane inspector is more likely to pass any vetting process and be readily accepted on job sites.
- Operator Acceptance: Inspections performed by certified inspectors can provide a higher level of trust and acceptance by crane operators.
- Insurance Recognition: Insurance carriers that are provided documentation and assurances from a certified inspector that the equipment is safe can help make the equipment more insurable and may even serve to improve rate sensitivity.
- Liability: A properly vetted certified crane inspector will be fully insured and become a link in the liability chain.
- No Conflict of Interest: Self-inspections may often times be seen or considered as a conflict of interest. You can eliminate uncertainty with a third-party certified inspection.
- Cost: There is a national network of certified crane inspectors that are available to provide prompt and cost-effective crane inspections. Having an in-house inspector can be expensive to train and maintain.
The bottom line is that it is important to have your cranes certified to be compliant to Federal OSHA requirements and any required state and local standards. This may best be achieved by vetting and working with a qualified and certified independent crane inspector.