"Qualified Rigger"

March 18, 2014

Eric M. D*** 
Washington, DC 20006

Dear Mr. D***:

Thank you for your March 12, 2013, letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). You asked a question regarding the determination of whether an employee may be considered a "qualified rigger" under 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC (Cranes and Derricks in Construction).

We have paraphrased your question as follows:

Question: Can a labor-management joint apprenticeship training program that is a "qualified evaluator (third party)" for purposes of ensuring that signal persons meet qualification requirements also provide training regarding "qualified rigger" status?

Answer: Yes, but the employer is responsible for ensuring that any employee who rigs materials is a qualified rigger. The employer may consider determinations made by a third party, such as completion of a joint labor management apprenticeship training program, in assessing whether an employee is in fact a "qualified rigger." While such programs generally provide high-quality classroom and hands-on instruction, the employer must ensure that an employee assigned to rig a load is a qualified rigger with respect to that specific lift.
29 CFR 1926.1401 defines a "qualified rigger" as:
[A] rigger who meets the criteria for a qualified person.
29 CFR 1926.1401 defines a "qualified person" as:
[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.
The level of experience, knowledge, and skill needed to perform a rigging job safely depends on the type of rigging and worksite conditions. The employer must ensure that the rigger has the ability to recognize and resolve any issues relating to the specific rigging work to be performed.
The cranes standard does not require or refer to third party evaluators with respect to qualified riggers. The standard's provisions regarding riggers differ in this respect from those regarding signal persons, to which your letter refers, under which documentation from a "qualified evaluator (third party)" is an alternative means of compliance. As noted, the employer may consider determinations made by a third party such as a joint apprenticeship program, but it retains responsibility for ensuring that any employee assigned to rig a load is qualified.
This interpretation is consistent with OSHA's discussion of qualified riggers in a letter to William K. Irwin, Jr., dated January 9, 2012, available here:

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