Fulford Certification


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September 2016

WorkSafeBC: Guidelines Part 14 – Equipment Operation

G14.34 Operator qualifications and competencies

Issued October 28, 2015

Regulatory excerpt
Section 14.34 of the OHS Regulation ("Regulation") states:

  1. A crane or hoist must only be operated by a qualified person who has been instructed to operate the equipment.
  2. A person must demonstrate competency, including familiarity with the operating instructions for the crane or hoist and the code of signals for hoisting operations authorized by the Board before operating the equipment.

Purpose of guideline

An operator of a crane or hoist (including an operator of equipment with a different primary design function that is being used in a hoisting or lifting application) needs to be knowledgeable and competent in assembly, set-up, erection, start-up, shutdown, dismantling, maintenance, inspection, and safe operation, as applicable and relevant to the specific equipment being operated.

This guideline outlines the requirement for the operator to be qualified and competent on the various types of equipment covered under section 14.34 of the Regulation.

The guideline also provides an explanation of the minimum qualifications that must be held and competencies that must be demonstrated by a qualified person before the person is permitted to operate the equipment covered under section 14.34.

The requirements in section 14.34 apply to cranes and hoists of a type required to meet a standard specified in section 14.2 and to any other equipment with a different primary design function that is being used in a hoisting or lifting application (refer also to section 14.1.1). This includes logging equipment that uses a load line for lifting. It does not include a front end loader, an excavator, or other earth moving equipment that is being used

  1. In applications consistent with its primary design purpose, or
  2. During a lifting task incidental to its primary design purpose if the manuals and operating instructions of the manufacturer of that equipment provide criteria for that lifting task.


Equipment may only be operated by a person qualified to do so. This means that the person must be knowledgeable of the work being done, the hazards involved, and the means to control the hazards, by reason of education, training, experience, or a combination of these. Also, the person must have been instructed in how to operate the specific equipment being used. This applies to operation of a crane or hoist, and where other equipment is being used in a hoisting or lifting application. For example, a rotating pipe layer or a side boom tractor is used in a hoisting or lifting application when placing pipes into position. The requirements of section 14.34 of the Regulation apply.

For a mobile crane, tower crane, or boom truck, there are additional operator certification requirements under section 14.34.1 of the Regulation.

Competencies for equipment used in hoisting or lifting operations
Before operating a crane, hoist, or other equipment being used in a hoisting or lifting application, an operator must demonstrate competency to do so, as appropriate to the equipment being used and as appropriate to the operator's responsibilities, including but not limited to the following:

  1. Understanding the information in the equipment manufacturer's operating manual and safety decals, including emergency procedures; understanding the limitations of the equipment (e.g., slopes, terrain, loads, extensions); understanding the applicable requirements of the Regulation
  2. Ability to recognize worksite potential hazards, including overhead, underground, ground conditions (slope/soil/excavation), other trades in proximity, pedestrians, and mobile traffic
  3. Ability to assemble and disassemble the crane or hoist in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and specifications
  4. Selecting the appropriate boom, jib, track/outrigger extension, parts of load line, and counterweight to meet lift requirements and determine the net lifting capacity of this configuration
  5. Knowing, understanding, and properly using the load charts with respect to actual lifting components installed and the configuration being used
  6. Selecting, configuring, and using the controls and control panel, computer, and limiting device functions with respect to the actual machine components installed
  7. Inspecting the equipment components (e.g., pre-operational checks and regular periodic inspections) and performing minor maintenance as required by, and at intervals required by, the manufacturer's specifications, applicable Standard, or the employer
  8. Maintaining the equipment log book with respect to pre-shift inspections and safety checks, and entering any observed defects, operating difficulty, or need for maintenance; reporting required repairs immediately to the employer
  9. Operating the equipment in a proper, safe, controlled, and smooth manner in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications; understanding and implementing safe rigging and lifting procedures
  10. Understanding and using hand signals and radio protocol for hoisting operations
  11. Calculating (as necessary) and understanding lift plans
  12. Understanding critical lift definitions, supervision, planning, and meeting the applicable requirements
  13. Shutting down and securing the equipment when it is unattended

If the assessment reveals any gaps in the worker's knowledge or skills, the employer needs to ensure these gaps are addressed through further training and instruction.

Verification of competence
As part of an inspection by a WorkSafeBC prevention officer, employers may be asked to verify compliance with the requirement that the operator of the crane or hoist is qualified and has demonstrated competence. This verification would entail reviewing records relating to the competency assessment and the qualifications of the operator. The extent of documentation expected would reflect the nature of the crane or hoisting equipment, in particular the size and complexity of the equipment. For example, it is likely to be much simpler to assess competencies of an operator of a small shop crane than it is to assess competencies for an operator of a large warehouse bridge crane.

G14.34.1 Operator certification
Issued January 1, 2007; Editorial Revision May 3, 2007; Revised December 1, 2008; Revised July 9, 2009; Preliminary Revision March 7, 2011

Regulatory excerpt
Section 14.34.1 of the OHS Regulation ("Regulation") states:

On and after July 1, 2007, a mobile crane, tower crane or boom truck must be operated only

  1. by a person with a valid operator's certificate issued by a person acceptable to the Board, and
  2. in accordance with any conditions stipulated on the certificate.

Purpose of guideline
This guideline outlines the crane certification program for operators to obtain valid certification to operate the various types of cranes covered by the requirement.

Operators of mobile cranes, tower cranes, and boom trucks must possess a valid operator's certificate. Crane operator certification is administered through the British Columbia Association for Crane Safety ("BCACS"), in conjunction with the Fulford Harbour Group Ltd. ("FHG"), and the Industry Training Association ("ITA").

Until February 28, 2011 the certification program was subject to a phased implementation period that permitted crane operators to continue to work while testing and certification took place. That implementation period has ended. From March 1, 2011, any operator without a valid certificate will be subject to orders and may be removed from operation until a valid certificate is obtained.

Types of equipment operators covered
Section 14.34.1 applies to operators of all mobile cranes, boom trucks, and tower cranes with a rated capacity equal to or greater than five tons or with a boom length of 25 feet or greater based on manufacturer's specifications. WorkSafeBC considers this equipment to include the following:

Mobile Cranes and Boom Trucks:
As described in

  • CSA Standard Z150-1998, Safety Code for Mobile Cranes
  • ANSI Standard ANSI/ASME B30.5-2004, Mobile and Locomotive Cranes
  • ANSI Standard ANSI/ASME B30.22-2005, Articulating Boom Cranes

Tower Cranes
As described in

  • CSA Standard Z248-2004, Code for Tower Cranes
  • ANSI Standard ASME B30.4-2003, Portal, Tower, and Pillar Cranes

Recognized certificates
Crane operators who possess a crane trade qualification previously issued in B.C. which may include a 'Red Seal' crane operator certificate, are validly certified to operate in B.C. and do not need to undergo further testing or assessment.

Out of province operators
Operators who possess a crane trade qualification or other valid crane operator certificate as required by a regulatory authority in another province or territory in Canada do not need to undergo further testing or assessment. However, in order to receive a B.C. crane operator certificate, out of province operators are required to register with the BCACS and complete a review of a jurisprudence package which outlines regulatory requirements and safe work practices applicable in B.C. The operator will then be issued a B.C. certificate with an out-of-jurisdiction notation thereon for the applicable crane type.

Crane operator certification
Operators of mobile cranes, tower cranes, or boom trucks are required to pass an assessment on the theory component of operating a crane. The theory assessment is based on the operating principles, and regulatory requirements relating to the type of equipment they intend to operate. This is in addition to the practical assessment required for all operators.

New operators may qualify for an interim certificate by passing a basic theory test. This certificate will be temporary and will restrict the types of situations under which the candidate may operate a crane, and require the candidate to operate under direct or indirect supervision of a qualified supervisor, depending on the type of certificate and/or lifts being performed.

Crane operators must possess one of the following documents in order to operate in B.C:

  • Crane operator certificate issued by FHG
  • Valid crane trade certificate issued by ITA, which may include a Red Seal crane operator certificate

On inspections at workplaces, WorkSafeBC prevention officers will inquire with crane operators to determine if they possess any of the above documents. An employer that permits an uncertified crane operator to operate a crane will be subject to orders from a prevention officer, and may in some situations be subject to administrative penalties. The uncertified operator is also subject to orders prohibiting the operator from continuing to operate a crane.

Accrediting bodies acceptable to WorkSafeBC
FHG and ITA are currently the only agencies recognized by WorkSafeBC to issue operators' certificates under the Regulation. WorkSafeBC will also consider other applicants who wish to become valid issuers of operators' certificates in B.C. Certain criteria for acceptance have been established by WorkSafeBC, principally on the topics of the assessment of candidates and the qualifications of assessors.

Further information
Further details about the crane operator certification program are available through the BC Association for Crane Safety: www.bcacs.ca

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