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Mark Kissling

Need to Take the Crane Certification Test? Here’s What You Should Know

Demystifying the test that’s largely unknown in the sign industry.




IF I WERE writing the article,” advises Frank Murch, Signs for San Diego (San Marcos, CA), “I would interview Willie [Tubbs, president/CEO of Craneology in Perris, CA]. Ask about the NCCCO training, different types of certs and the difference between a fixed cab and a swing cab. These were very unclear to me before spending some time with Willie.”

Murch, one of three Signs of the Times Brain Squad members interviewed for the September “Power Lifting” article on cranes, further suggested I ask about the practical test, what it is and how it works because who can help you pass that test is largely unknown in the sign industry. “Places like Craneology are the answer for sign companies to get the NCCCO certs required to keep operating,” Murch says. “Willie is a retired US Marine — straight shooter, very practical and knows the topic like the back of his hand. I am unaware of any other solution to the OSHA enforcement problem. This is the biggest issue facing sign companies.”

I took Murch’s advice and interviewed Willie Tubbs (“WT” below”). Below are his answers to my questions (“ST”) and two OSHA Fact Sheets he provided for download.

ST — As Frank mentioned, could you please explain the different types of certifications common in the sign industry and the difference between a fixed cab and a swing cab?

WT — There are two basic types of certifications for telescopic boom cranes (the swing cab — TLL) and (the fixed cab — TSS). The swing cab has an operator’s cab that swings with the boom, and the fixed cab has operator stations that are basically platforms that the operator stands on to operate the crane. The platforms are stationary and do not swing with the boom. There are some fixed cab telescopic boom cranes that have stationary cabs, instead of platforms, that do not swing with the boom.


ST — Briefly, what is involved when Craneology trains a sign company for NCCCO certification? How long (how many hours, days, weeks) does it take?

WT — Our typical course is five days long. We spend two days in the classroom, two days on the crane, and the fifth day is for administering the written and practical exams. The class starts at 7:00 a.m., with a 30-minute lunch break from 11-11:30 a.m. The second half of the day is from 11:30 a.m-3:30 p.m.

ST — What are the one or two major issues sign companies generally don’t know about related to crane operation/safety?

WT — The major crane operation/safety related issues that sign companies don’t know about are the requirement for qualified riggers and signalpersons working with the crane operator. Please see the downloadable OSHA Fact Sheets.

ST — What is your advice to sign companies seeking to get into the business of crane installations?

WT — My advice is to only allow certified crane operators and supervised trainees to operate their cranes. The operators must also be qualified on the crane that they’re operating. Also, ensure that qualified riggers and signalpersons are rigging the load and signaling for the operators.

Craneology Inc. offers the Qualified Rigger and Signalperson one-day course in Perris, CA, every month and can provide training and testing at the customer’s location if there are at least six employees to educate.

Click here and here to download the OSHA Fact Sheets.

For more information, visit


Mark Kissling is Signs of the Times’ Editor-in-Chief. Contact him at



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