Answer: OSHA defines a "qualified evaluator (third party)" in 29 CFR 1926.1401
as an entity that, due to its independence and expertise, has demonstrated that it is competent in accurately assessing whether individuals meet the Qualification Requirements in this subpart for a signal person.
OSHA requires each employer of a signal person to use a qualified evaluator (a third party or an employee) to verify that the signal person possesses a minimum set of knowledge and skills [29 CFR 1926.1428(a)]. In general, OSHA does not evaluate or endorse specific products or programs, and therefore makes no determination as to whether either program meets the definition of a "qualified evaluator (third party)." It should be noted, however, that in the preamble to the final subpart CC rule, OSHA stated that "labor-management joint apprenticeship training programs that train and assess signal persons would typically meet the definition for a third-party qualified evaluator....." 75 Federal Register 48029, (August 9, 2010). Ultimately, the employer is responsible for assuring that its employees are adequately trained regardless of whether the employees' qualification is assessed by the employer or a third party. See 29 CFR 1926.1428(b) and 1926.1430(b).
Questions #2: Does a JTAC-issued certification card satisfy the requirement for documentation of training for a qualified signal person if the card certifies that the holder has successfully completed testing on the listed specific categories of signals (voice, hand, radio, etc.)?
Answer: Certification cards issued by a third party qualified evaluator or the employer's qualified evaluator would be satisfactory documentation of a signal person's qualification under 1926.1428 provided that the cards specify each type of signaling for which the signal person is qualified, and denote that the card bearer:
- knows and understands the type of signal used at the work site;
- is competent in the application of the type of signal used at the work site;
- has a basic understanding of the equipment operation and limitations, including the crane dynamics involved in swinging and stopping loads and boom deflection from hoisting loads;
- knows and understands the relevant requirements of 1926.1419 through 1926.1422 and 1926.1428; and
- has demonstrated his/her knowledge of the requirements of items (1) through (4) above through an oral or written test, and through a practical test.
Answer: Yes. As noted in the preamble to the final rule, the 1926.1928(a)(3) requirement was included in the final rule because OSHA and the C-DAC committee felt that "it is important for employers to make the documentation of signal person qualifications readily available to employees and others who need to rely on those qualifications, such as crane operators who rely on signal persons provided by a different employer, or OSHA for compliance purposes" (75 Federal Register 48029). In practical terms, this availability requirement means that if a crane operator or that operator's employer, an OSHA compliance officer, or another person who needs to verify the qualifications of the signal person requests to see the documentation, the employer must produce it immediately. So long as the card qualifies as documentation of training in accordance with the answer to Question 2, and is on the person of the signal person, in a location where it can be retrieved immediately, or immediately available electronically to present to the requestor, the card would satisfy the availability requirement of 1926.1428(a)(3).