Man climbing up a red tower crane

Verifying Crane Operators’ Qualifications and Competencies as Required by BC Regulations 

BC Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (OHSR) require employers to confirm the qualifications and competencies of crane operators before they get into the crane. 

Part 14.34 of the OHS Regulation says: 

(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. 

That means the operator must have a valid credential or certification for the type of crane they will be operating and the type of work they are going to do. They must also be familiar with the specific crane they will be working on and the ways they can communicate with other people on the worksite. 

Employers can use BC Crane Safety’s Credential Check system to verify crane operators’ credentials. If an operator has a Provisional certificate, the employer must have a written plan for supervision as per the signed application or renewal. 

Why is this important? 

There have been catastrophic incidents involving cranes in BC over the past few years. It is more important than ever to focus on keeping workers, worksites and the public safe. A February 2024 article in Canadian Occupational Safety describes the ongoing attention to crane safety in this province and the regulator’s commitment to continuous improvement. 

Verifying the competency and qualifications of crane operators helps reduce the likelihood of incidents and injuries arising from unsafe crane operations. It can also help reduce operational costs and improve a company’s ability to meet deadlines. 

To help employers and other industry stakeholders understand their responsibilities and obligations, WorkSafeBC created an informative bulletin called “Ensure Crane Operators Possess the Qualifications and Competence Required for Operating Specific Machinery”.  

The bulletin examines the factors that contributed to a load-failure incident and gives an overview of the competencies that crane operators need to demonstrate and the qualifications they need to have to work safely. Being qualified means an operator knows the work, the hazards involved, and how to control the hazards. This knowledge can come through education, training, experience, or a combination of all three.