Understanding Competent, Qualified and Certified Persons!

Written By Dave Decker, President, Becket Training & Consulting in Crane & Rigging Hotline

In the crane industry we often hear the terms competent, qualified and certified.  Sometimes they are used almost interchangeably.  However, they have very different implications.

OSHA 29 CFR 1926.1400 (subpart cc) requires riggers and signalpersons to be qualified persons.  Certification for these employees is optional.  Crane operators currently working in construction must be qualified or certified, but by November 10, 2018 all crane operators working in construction must be certified.  Crane operators not working in construction, must be qualified, but certification is not required.

What is the difference between a competent person, a qualified person or a certified person?  Let’s look at the definitions from OSHA 29 CFR 1926.1400 and 29 CFR 1910. 

Crane Industry Defines Competent, Qualified and Certified Persons

Competent Person means one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.” Well what does all this mean?

Let’s suppose for example that you are the storekeeper at your shop with responsibility for assigning rigging gear.  If you are capable of recognizing that a sling has been damaged and you also have the authority to remove it from service, you could be considered a competent person, regardless of experience or training

In general, a person who has knowledge relative to the situation and authority to take corrective measures will be a competent person under this definition.

“Qualified Person means a person who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training and experience, successfully demonstrated the ability to solve/resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.”

To explain qualified person, we need to break down definition.  A recognized degree in structural engineering may indicate that a person is qualified to analyze a boom deficiency for example.  A degree in a non-related field would not.  A certificate of training, would have to be in a related field to be an indication of qualification.  A certificate of crane operator training may not prove that a person is a qualified rigger.

A journeyman rigger with 25 years of experience may have learned the trade from more experienced riggers over time without any formal rigger training, and yet he may well demonstrate the ability to solve problems associated with rigging and therefore be a qualified rigger.

Becket Training & Consulting offers training to help qualify persons in several crane and rigging related areas.

A “Certified Person” is one who has passed stringent written and practical exams related to the work that he will perform.  OSHA 29 CFR 1926.1427 requires the organization providing examinations for crane operators to be accredited by an accrediting agency such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).  Certification testing for crane operators, riggers and signalpersons and others are offered by accredited organizations.

Contact us here for a free conversation and to learn more about Competent, Qualified and Certified persons in crane industry.