Chairmen of the rigger and signalperson task forces, respectively, Don Jordan (center) and Kenny Shi

Chairmen of the rigger and signalperson task forces, respectively, Don Jordan (center) and Kenny Shinn (inset), met NCCCO's manager of program development, Phillip Kinser, and IAI president Anthony Mi

“We are all here today with the same goal in mind,” said Kerry Hulse, commission chairman of the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO). “To improve safety in the workplace, to raise awareness of lifting equipment hazards, and to find the most effective ways of addressing them.”

Hulse was speaking at the inaugural meeting of NCCCO's rigging and signalperson task forces held in Lake Tahoe, NV in April. More than 50 subject matter experts (SMEs) from more than 20 states gathered over the course of the two-day event to begin work on crafting new certification programs. Among those represented were contractors, steel erectors, crane rental companies, rigging gear manufacturers, petrochemical, insurance firms, energy providers, and training companies, as well as the operating engineers and ironworkers labor unions.

Hulse paid tribute to those who, more than a dozen years ago, had the vision to lay the foundation stones of what has since become the established industry benchmark for the certification of crane operators. “It seemed a Herculean task at the time,” he said, “but when you can reflect, as NCCCO can, on the administration of more than a quarter of a million tests to over 50,000 operators, there is every reason to believe these new programs will have an equal, if not greater, impact on the safety of all those whose work brings them into contact with cranes and rigging gear.”

The task forces were set up by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators with the aim of developing certification programs for site personnel who rig loads, or who are responsible for signaling the crane operator during the lift.

NCCCO announced its plans in February and issued a call for volunteers the following month.

“The response for experts to serve on the task forces has been outstanding,” said NCCCO manager of program development Phillip Kinser. “In addition to the quality of those volunteering, we have been impressed with the breadth of the industry sectors represented.”

At its first meeting, task force members made significant progress in a number of areas, said Kinser, including defining the essential knowledge and skills that riggers and signalpersons need to possess, and identifying standards and other reference materials to be used in the development of test questions. In conjunction wiThexam development specialist International Assessment Institute (IAI), NCCCO provided SMEs with a thorough briefing in certification program development, job (task) analysis, and item (question) development designed to meet NCCA and ANSI accreditation criteria.

The next meeting of the task force is scheduled for June, and at two-monthly intervals thereafter with the aim of meeting a 2008 program completion deadline.

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