The most frequent question we heard from our readers is how often is crane refresher training required. We will try to answer that question in this article.
To the best of our understanding, OSHA, in its 29 CFR 1926.1427 standard, doesn’t specify a time period of which refresher training must be given to crane operators.
However, contained in it is a provision (b)(5) regarding retraining. It states, “the employer must provide retraining in relevant topics for each operator when, based on the performance of the operator or evaluation of the operator's knowledge, there is an indication that retraining is necessary.”
You might now be wondering, so, if there’s so such an OSHA requirement, what is the recommended time period crane operators need to take refresher training. Employers we know conduct retraining every two (2) years.
Why 2 years? Because during that time, they noticed that operators have developed bad behaviors that need to be corrected and at this time new crane equipment has been introduced onsite that operators need to be familiarized and be competent in safe operation.
It is a good practice to set a designated time period in which the operators must take refresher training and if you are an employer, you can incorporate this in the company’s safety procedure.
Aside from the set time period, retraining can be conducted whenever it is necessary based on the performance and knowledge evaluation of the operator.
Other Circumstances That Requires Retraining
Aside from the things mentioned above, there are circumstances or situations requiring a crane operator to take retraining.
- If he’s involved in an accident or in a near-miss incident, the operator must take retraining for him to recognize his mistake so that he would not repeat it in the future.
- If he has been observed operating the equipment in an unsafe manner, it does sound the alarm that retraining must be given, otherwise, an accident is just lurking to happen.
- If the workplace settings have changed, site-specific training must be given in order for the operators to familiarize themselves with the current site setup.
- If the operator has been assigned to operate a different type of equipment he’s not familiar with to perform the new task. Depending, on the new crane, certification may be needed. See here who need to be certified.
- And again, if he developed a bad habit, retraining should be mandatory.
If an employer observes one of these happening, action must immediately be taken.
What Records to Maintain After Retraining and Evaluation
In order to keep track of the evaluation, it is a good idea to document it. Employers prefer to issue a certificate or a wallet card as proof of a successful evaluation. The certificate must bear the operator and trainer’s name, date of the evaluation, make and model of the crane equipment used in the evaluation. While training attendance sheet can also be used as evidence of evaluation. The copy of the certificate/wallet card and attendance sheet should form part of the training record.
The employer must keep these records and make them available anytime in the workplace as long as the operators are employed by them. In this way, when the OSHA inspector visited the site, the employer has something to show as solid proof of evaluation.
Preferred Way to Conduct Refresher Training
If you are going to ask me what is the best method of delivering refresher training, well, I would say that onsite training is the most effective way. Why?
Simply because, the trainer can modify the course curriculum to match with that of the behaviors of the operators, current site settings and the crane equipment being used on site. The composition of the training course is still basically the same, it consisted of classroom lectures, practical training, and evaluation.
Other benefits of onsite training are flexible scheduling, it can be set on specific dates and time you are convenient wit; and that it is cost-effective because the employer would not have to send the workers to the school eliminating the need for travel and work shutdown.
If you are presently needing onsite training, find the nearest training school in your area, they usually have a training package for such a course. To make finding convenient for you, we have a directory of schools by state, just choose the state in the menu (below or on the left side of the screen), there you will find the directory.
To Make a Conclusion
To help keep the crane operators safe and efficient retraining or refresher should be mandatory even for experienced workers. If opportunity permits it so, have it conducted onsite.
It is added cost but it should not be seen as a burden because there are great benefits that can be reaped from having the operators retrained.