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Danny's Rigging Den: Is a Certified Rigger a Qualified Rigger?

Posted by Danny Bishop on Dec 11, 2017 9:44:03 AM

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Even though OSHA 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC- Crane & Derrick Standard for Construction went into effect November 10, 2010 it still continues to prompt individuals to debate whether a “Certified Rigger” is considered a “Qualified Rigger”. In this article I have included my personal opinions along with wording and facts from the standard itself. I hope you find this information useful and rig safe!

Is a Certified Rigger a Qualified Rigger?

In my opinion the answer is No. Just because an individual is a “Certified Rigger” does not mean they are “Qualified” to rig all loads. They must be properly trained and their responsible management should assess their skill level to ensure they can adequately perform the job functions required for safe material handling activities specific to their assigned duties.  

Example for consideration: Approximately, 20 years ago myself and several of my fellow industry rigging professionals and rigging educators had the privilege of being allowed behind closed doors to view the Space Shuttle rigging and handling activities. Although our group consisted of some of the most knowledgeable riggers I have ever known, I think I’m safe in stating, none of us would have considered ourselves “Qualified” to rig the Space Shuttle without proper training and education for that highly important and critical task. Even though the group contained many of the original individuals who developed a lot of the current rigger certification exam questions that are in use today.

Do I Endorse Rigger Certification?

Yes, I highly encourage all riggers to pursue rigger certification which normally requires passing a written or computer based exam and also a practical hands-on exam as typically administered by a third party. My logic for being a proponent for certification is because I believe that certification forces individuals to pursue rigging training and education which in turn leads to a more knowledgeable work force, a more knowledgeable workforce has proven successful in helping to reduce accidents, which is a win/win for all of us. However, when companies follow the path of assuming that everyone in their employment is “Qualified” simply because they have attained a rigger or even a crane operator certification, without properly assessing the individual’s skill level for the duties they perform is a bad management practice that is happening to often.

Common questions and answers as derived from the OSHA 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC- Crane & Derrick Standard for Construction.

Does the OSHA 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC- Crane & Derrick Standard require a “Qualified Rigger” or a “Certified Rigger?”

It requires a “Qualified Rigger” in certain applications. The standard does not require a certified rigger. See OSHA 1926.1401, 1926.1404 and 1926.1425. Went into effect November 8, 2010.

What is the definition of a Qualified Rigger in the OSHA 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC- Crane & Derrick Standard?

Qualified Rigger - a rigger who meets the criteria for a qualified person. 

What is Osha’s definition of a Qualified person?

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

When does OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC- Crane & Derrick Standard require a “Qualified” Rigger?

A qualified rigger is required during the assembly/disassembly of cranes, and when employees are engaged in hooking, unhooking or guiding the load, or in initial connection of a load to a component or structure and are within the fall zone. Per Osha 1926.1404 (r) (1) and 1926.1425 (c).

What is OSHA’s definition of the “Fall Zone”?

Fall Zone - the area (including but not limited to the area directly beneath the load) in which it is reasonably foreseeable that partially or completely suspended materials could fall in the event of an accident.

Do Qualified Riggers have to be trained or certified by an accredited organization or assessed by a third party?

According to Osha Fact Sheet, Subpart CC – Cranes and Derricks in Construction that addresses the Qualified Rigger, the answer is No. However, the employer may elect to use a third party.

A copy of the regulatory text for the OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC- Crane & Derrick Standard is available at

Other useful OSHA publications on the standard that I have found useful:

Please feel free to let me know your thoughts and any questions you might have on the rigger topics discussed.

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