Imagine that suddenly, a new federal regulation was released that said you must take a test in order to prove you know what you’re doing in your job. If you fail the test, you’ll no longer be able to do that job. And imagine that you’ve been doing your job for 30 years and are considered an expert. But perhaps you’ve been out of school for a very long time, and your reading comprehension and test-taking skills are not what they used to be. Or perhaps they were never that great to start with. Maybe you never finished high school. Maybe you can’t even read very well. Suddenly, after many years of being competent and respected in your work, all your experience means nothing. You have to take the same test that someone brand new to the job might have to take. And you’re afraid that you might not be able to pass it.
I imagine you’d feel all kinds of emotions, none of them positive. Fear, anxiety, anger, embarrassment and indignation, just to name a few. You’d look at other industries and professions and wonder why they weren’t subject to the same injustice. You might even consider looking for a new career.
That’s the situation many crane operators are now in, due to new OSHA regulations that require them to be licensed by 2014. Don’t get me wrong—there have been a rash of fatal crane accidents over the past few years and I believe OSHA is doing what needs to be done to make the industry safer. And yet, as a training and development professional I see the challenges that lie ahead. For some companies, their best and most experienced crane operator might be the very guy least likely to pass the written test. And that’s going to be a problem.
So why is a leadership and team building consultant writing about crane operators? Because my brother is a crane operator, and we’ve teamed up to offer solutions for the industry. We’ve recently become approved by the Crane Institute Certification (CIC) organization to offer training and nationally accredited testing, and we plan to specialize in helping the very folks I’ve been talking about—experienced operators who will need some extra help preparing for a written exam. You can read about our programs here: www.newenglandcraneschool.com.
And if you’re a training, HR or OD professional like me, be thankful for what we have. In our industry, experience is still what counts most.