OSHA physical exam requirements for crane operatorsWhen you think of a crane operator, the image that likely comes to mind is one of someone perched atop a crane, operating it with levers and pedals.

However, operating a crane is much more than just flipping switches and pulling levers. Becoming a crane operator requires specific skills and knowledge as well as specialized training. OSHA has very strict regulations regarding all aspects of a crane operator; from the physical requirements to training and certification.

Since the nature of being a crane operator is physically demanding and risky, OSHA has set forth some requirements with regard to these. Physical exams are therefore required.

For operators of cranes and derrick, a physical exam is required for safety. It is up to the employer to require operators to undergo a physical exam. A qualified physician is the one to conduct such an examination.

For operators of crawler, locomotive, truck and derrick operators are the following:

  • Operators of these types of cranes must have a vision of at least 20/30 in the Snellen chart in one eye, and 20/50 in the other, with or without the provision of glasses.

  • Must not have color blindness which must be able to differentiate the colors of greed, red, and yellow. The ability to distinguish colors is required in some types of operation.

  • Operators must have adequate hearing, especially in operation on a construction site where there is a lot of noise around. Use of a hearing aid is allowed as long as the operator has adequate hearing to receive instruction.

  • Operators with a history of epilepsy or of a disabling heart condition are not qualified for this job.

OSHA doesn’t require for a medical exam, it is up to the discretion of the employer. What OSHA does require is the physical capability of the operator in crane operation.



Other Physical Exam Requirements of a Crane Operator

When it comes to the physical requirements for operating a crane, there are both minimum and recommended criteria. The minimum requirements are those that are required by OSHA and the standards. The recommended criteria are those that are highly recommended but not required.

Both the OSHA standards and recommendations include the following:

  • Adequate strength, endurance, and physical condition to perform the job.
  • Legible foot control and ability to withstand prolonged standing, sitting, and operating a foot pedal.
  • Ability to communicate by radio and communicate in adverse weather conditions.
  • Ability to see and hear alarms in the cab and the capacity to activate and deactivate the crane under various conditions.
  • Ability to function in high-risk environments with extreme temperatures and inclement weather.
  • Ability to follow written and oral instructions and to read maps, instruments, and warning signs.
  • Ability to work with others as a member of a work crew.
  • Ability to perform job-related tasks with or without reasonable accommodation. - Ability to operate the crane at maximum capacity with safety controls and load limits.



Certification for Crane Operators

In order to become a certified crane operator, the candidate must take and pass the standard exam at an approved testing organization such as NCCCO. The exam consists of a written and practical portion and a medical examination.

The written portion covers all the regulations and safety procedures related to operating cranes. The practical portion covers safe operation of cranes, lifting, rigging, and hoisting as well as the ability to perform a crane inspection.

The medical exam covers any physical or mental conditions that may prevent the candidate from being able to operate a crane safely.



Training for Crane Operator Certification

What is required to become an OSHA-certified crane operator varies from state to state. However, there are several resources that provide information about what you need to get started. These include:

  • The Crane Institute of America
  • The National Center for Construction Education and Research
  • The National Commission for Health and Safety in Construction
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration

These resources are an excellent place to start any search into becoming an certified crane operator. OSHA requires that all crane operators be trained on the specific crane they will be operating.

The training requirements include both OSHA standards and the specific crane operator’s manual. There are a few different options for training: - On-the-job training - Apprenticeship - On the job training - Online courses - Classroom training

Other Qualifications for Becoming a Crane Operator

In addition to meeting the physical requirements, candidates for crane operator certification must be at least 18 years of age and possess a high school diploma or GED.

They also must have a valid driver’s license and pass a criminal background check. With these basic qualifications in place, there are a few more things candidates should be aware of before beginning the certification process to become an OSHA crane operator.

For example, crane operators must be fluent in both written and spoken English. They must be able to use maps and read instruments and have sufficient vision to navigate without assistance.

Similarly, they must be able to communicate clearly with other workers and supervisors.




Becoming a crane operator requires a great deal of effort. You must be physically fit and able to work in dangerous conditions as well as work well with others.

You also must understand the necessary safety regulations and be able to follow them meticulously.

These requirements are necessary to keep workers safe in the highly dangerous environment of a construction site. In addition, it is important to keep in mind that there is a process in place for becoming a crane operator.

You cannot simply show up on the first day of the job without these requirements and begin operating a crane. To do so would be both dangerous and illegal.

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