CICB is excited to announce our new Preparatory Course for the CCO Articulating Boom Loader (ABL) Examination. In this course; our instructors prepare your employees to successfully take the CCO ABL written and practical exams. In this article, we will break down why boom loaders are frequently used, important OSHA regulations, and key aspects of our new course.
Why Choose an Articulating Boom Loader?
Articulating Boom Loaders have significant advantages in the field. You see these advantages most utilized in construction. ABLs can be used to lift palletized plywood, sheetrock, shingles, and much more. These materials can be transferred directly from their own truck bed to the fourth story of a mid-construction apartment building.
ABLs have significant reach when compared to other heavy equipment, such as telehandlers. Where many telehandlers must get close to the side of a building to lift a load up a few floors, the right ABL truck can reach over 15 feet to drop off palletized material.
On top of the reach advantage, ABLs also benefit from having their crane attached directly to the truck. This can help reduce the need for additional cranes or forklifts to load and unload your truck bed. This can be beneficial when contractors need staff to pick up material directly from the manufacturer.
It is clear why many general contractors, roofing contractors, and subcontractors frequently utilize Articulating Boom Loading trucks.
Is It a Crane? Is It a Loader?
If you can tell the difference between an Articulating Boom Crane (ABC) and an Articulating Boom Loader (ABL), then you are off to a great start. The main difference comes down to the attachment at the head of the crane. The following is a detailed explanation.
Articulating Boom Cranes
Articulating Boom Cranes, also referred to as knuckle-boom cranes, are your standard articulating cranes. They come with a standard hook attachment at the end. ABCs can be seen attached to trucks, ships, and even trains to help with loading and unloading cargo. ABCs can have a loader attachment added to them, but an ABC with one is not confused with an ABL.
Articulating Boom Winches
Articulating Boom Winches (ABW) are similar to standard ABCs, except they have a winch attachment allowing them to lower the hook connected to the wire. These cranes are best utilized when needing to lower construction material underground. For this reason, you often see ABWs used by utility organizations to lower important infrastructure below ground. An operator of this crane should also be familiar with wire rope uses and limitations when lifting material. CICB’s Preparatory Course for the CCO Articulating Boom Crane Operator Examination teaches this critical material so that our students are ready to operate with or without a winch.
Articulating Boom Loaders
Articulating Boom Loaders are in a class of their own. They have a loader attachment at the end specialized for lifting palletized materials into hard-to-reach spaces. An ABL offers more control and stability than an ABC with a loader attachment. This is because the ABLs loader is built directly into the rotator. The ABLs load capacity is optimized for loading where an ABC with a loader attachment can be limited by the attachment’s capacity.
A Common OSHA Misconception
Misunderstanding OSHA regulation 1926.1400(c)(17)(i) can result in an OSHA violation. This standard clarifies when an Articulating Boom Loader is considered a crane or a delivery vehicle under Federal Regulation. A vehicle with an ABL can be considered a delivery vehicle when it is only being used for material delivery. As a delivery vehicle, the ABL operation is classified under general industry, and the employers are responsible for qualifying their operators in accordance with ASME B30.22.
However, OSHA Subpart CC goes into further detail as to when this crane designation exception does not apply. The moment the loader is used to aid in the construction process, it is classified as a crane under OSHA regulations. Employers are required to have their operators certified by an accredited agency, such as the NCCCO, to meet the requirements for crane operation in construction.
This difference of use can happen whenever using Articulating Boom Loaders on construction sites. An ABL can be considered aiding in the construction process the moment your operator listens to a construction worker directing them to drop a load outside of the laydown area. It is easy to cross this line in the field because ABLs have the functionality for both uses.
The following uses of an ABL quickly turn into an OSHA violation if an operator is only qualified:
- Placing palletized heavy material directly onto a structure without a properly functioning automatic overload prevention device. 1926.1400(c)(17)(ii)
- Holding, supporting, or stabilizing material to facilitate in a construction activity. 1926.1400(c)(17)(iii)(A)
- Handling a prefabricated component. 1926.1400(c)(17)(iii)(B)
- Handling structural steel members or a component of a systems-engineered metal building. 1926.1400(c)(17)(iii)(C)
- Any activity not specifically excluded under 1400(c)(17)(i) and (ii).
No employer wants to experience getting a call about a preventable accident involving an ABL operator. Employers are preemptively certifying their ABL operators because they recognize that they do not always have full control of potential worksites. They feel more comfortable having their operators trained for both delivery and construction. The certification process is similar to qualification as both processes require employees to take practical and written exams. The main difference is that certification requires that these tests be taken through an accredited agency’s certification process.
Please note that this is not an extensive explanation of OSHA regulations affecting Articulating Boom Loaders. For more information on how these standards can affect your operations, please contact us.
An Overview of CICB’s Preparatory Course
This course reviews crucial information that will help keep your employees and others safe on the job site. Our instructors start off with our pre-assessment to gauge your familiarity with ABLs. This helps us know what areas to focus your training on. We then continue by guiding you through key material from our Articulating Boom Loader textbook.
Our instructors cover the relevant OSHA and ASME / ANSI standards necessary to be successful in your CCO exams. We also cover practical information through hands-on experience. You will learn additional information that will help you stay safe in the field. For example, we teach rigging basics, wire ropes, and worksite communication. Hands-on experience with rigging is important because we find that many Articulating Boom Loader operators find themselves alone on the road. This means that you may find yourself rigging your own load. Knowing key rigging concepts in these moments can save your life and your load.
During this course, you will have hands-on experience operating an ABL while our Subject Matter Experts provide helpful feedback. This time is invaluable, especially if you are new to ABLs specifically. Even if you have operated an Articulating Boom Crane before, Boom Loaders come with their own challenges.
We cover the technical information necessary to be successful in your exams. You will review load chart calculations, critical lifts, lift planning, operator requirements and responsibilities, crane operating hazards, crane inspection and maintenance, and crane setup. Our instructors take the time to explain these concepts in depth with plenty of example questions. To top it all off, we review practical study and test-taking techniques to be successful in your exams. Written and practical exams are administered on the final day of the course.
Once you pass, your CCO certification is valid for the following two years.
What It Takes To Succeed
John O’Connor, CICB’s Houston General Manager and Subject Matter Expert, explains what it takes to be successful in our Articulating Boom Loader course.
“Succeeding in this course comes down to mindset,” O’Connor stated. “First and foremost, it takes a willingness to learn. What the CCO will test you on may be different than how your company has done things in the field. To be successful on the written test, it takes leaving preconceived notions at the door.”
CICB’s instructors understand that on-the-job training may not cover material to the same degree as formal training. They take the time to explain common misconceptions and trip-ups.
A common phrase you hear at CICB is, “The only bad question in this industry is the one you don’t ask.” Unasked questions can lead to property damage, injury, and, worst of all, death. If during your courses you learn information that is different from how you have done things in the past, raise your hand. Our instructors are more than happy to dive into these details.
If you come to our course with an open mind and a drive to pass, you are three steps ahead of the game.
How Hard Is This Course?
As put by CICB’s Instructor and Inspector Albert Gonzalez, “Operating an ABL is like operating an Articulating Crane and a Telehandler at the same time. It can seem complicated at first, but after enough practice, you will get the hang of it. The hardest part of operating an ABL is learning how to visualize the crane’s three dimensions of movement in your mind. Especially in situations where you do not have a clear line of sight. Luckily, most ABLs come with remote control, allowing their operators to move to better vantage points and reducing the need to utilize a signal person.”
It is highly recommended that students that do not have prior experience operating an ABC or ABL combine this course with CICB’s Articulating Boom Crane Operator course. For recommendations on how we can customize our courses for your unique needs, contact us here.
Who Is This Course For?
This course is for experienced and recruit-level articulating boom loader operators seeking CCO certification. You will advance your ABL knowledge with some of the most experienced instructors in the lifting industry.
Organizations looking to increase OSHA and ASME / ANSI compliance through group training can utilize our customized training solutions with availability to travel to your location and train your team directly on your equipment. We additionally offer Open Enrollment courses at our Houston facility for individuals looking to break into the industry or renew their ABL CCO certification. Individuals can apply for one of our Open Enrollment classes available on our course page.