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NCCCO to drop 'physicals'

NOTE - We initially interpreted the release from the NCCCO incorrectly - it seemed to suggest that physical/practical testing was being dropped, rather than a medical test

The leading North American crane operator certification organisation National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) is dropping the requirement for an operator to complete a 'physical' /medical test in order to be certified by the organisation.

The change, which will come into force in January, will apply to all NCCCO certifications. From then on the operator’s employer will be responsible for carrying out such tests and it will no longer be part of the formal certification.
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An NCCCO approved operator testing site

NCCCO chief executive Thom Sicklesteel said: “The decision was taken because the physical demands placed on a certified crane operator change according to such factors as the type and configuration of the crane and the environment it is working in, facts known only to the employer rather than the certification body.”

"This is not in any way to minimise the importance of ensuring an operator is physically qualified, since physical examinations are a critical part of qualifying an operator, but they do not align with the certification component. Certifications are based on crane type whereas physical requirements are based on the specific crane to be operated and can be materially different for cranes even within the same crane type. Jobs where the cranes are moving to multiple positions or that have higher cyclical work are typically more demanding.”

"Employers are required to qualify their crane operators by determining whether they are able to operate the specific crane they will work on, perform the type of work they will be assigned, and address any accommodations that may or may not be provided. Certification bodies simply cannot know this information and so are not in a position to determine whether or not an operator is physically qualified.”

“In addition the ASME B30.5 standard requires physical examinations to be carried out more frequently than the established recertification schedules. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, due to privacy and legal concerns, physical qualifications are not portable between employers.”

"It is therefore NCCCO's view that only employers are in a position to determine an individual's specific capabilities. Now that OSHA requires employers to conduct evaluations of all of their operators in the context of the equipment they will use and the work they will be doing, it seems only appropriate that it should be the employer who can also best make the determination of each operator's physical abilities."

“The role of certification is to demonstrate a baseline level of knowledge and skill necessary to operate equipment safely, as well as the ability to recognise and avert risks associated with the operation.”

"The clarity that OSHA has brought regarding employers' evaluations is critical to a safer lifting industry. NCCCO looks forward to continue working with the industry to navigate the changes and provide guidance related to credentialing for personnel in and around load handling equipment."

Vertikal Comment

We initially got this one totally wrong !!!

The press release seemed to clearly state that the physical test relating to specific cranes was to be dropped by NCCCO and that employers would in future be responsible for such tests. Clearly one version or interpretation has a far more significant impact than the other. The original incorrect report we published only required three or four word changes to convert it the above text, however our Vertikal Comment is of course now completely different.

Our sincerest apologies to those who read the report before we were alerted and changed it.


The real reason they dropped it is cause they are too lazy. They are very greedy.

Mar 18, 2020

vertikal editor
We got this totally wrong! The NCCCO sent out a late press release which seemed to clearly state that it was dropping physical crane tests - the practical test - It has contacted us this morning to clarify that it is only dropping the 'physical' the medical test. Amazingly apart from the comment, the report only required a few word changes to convert it!
Language it is an amazing thing and communication is not as simple as some think

Nov 19, 2019

You have the story completely wrong. As the press release clearly states it is the physical eligibility that is being removed NOT the practical (hands-on) performance exam. That remains an integral part of the NCCCO certification process.

Nov 19, 2019