NCCCO Service Truck Crane (STC)
Operator Certification Program Guide

Truck Bodies Gallery



Fuel Savings Calculator



Cranes & Truck Bodies Articles




September 8, 2014

Crane Safety: NCCCO STC Certification Program Guide

The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO), has just finished its first year with a new certification program for service truck crane operators. The Service Truck Crane Certification (STC) is a subcategory of the Crane Operators Telescopic Boom-Fixed Cab Certification (TSS). The STC Certification is designed specifically for experienced crane operators.

This article is intended to serve as a guide to obtaining the STC certification, however this article was not directly written by the NCCCO. It is recommended that you visit their website as well.

To obtain the STC Certification, a candidate must be at least 18 years of age and meet the following criteria:

Code of Ethics

The NCCCO requires that a certified candidate meet and comply with their Code of Ethics. The code of ethics requires that the candidate conduct themselves in a professional, honest and safe manner.

Physical Evaluation

An initial physical evaluation of the candidate must be conducted by a licensed medical examiner and the candidate must pass. Licensed medical examiners include Doctors Of Medicine, Doctors Of Osteopathy, Physician Assistants, Advanced Practice Nurses, and Doctors Of Chiropractic. The licensed examiner will conduct a physical exam utilizing the DOT Medical Examiner's certificate. The candidate must be re-evaluated every three (3) years to maintain a STC certification.

The physical requirements for crane operators are based on ASME standards and assess:


The crane operator must have at least 20/30 in one eye and 20/50 in the other (with or without corrective lenses). The crane operator must have the ability to distinguish between colors. Last of all, the candidate must have adequate depth perception and the ability to demonstrate a satisfactory field of vision.


The candidate must be able to meet operational demands with or without a hearing aid. A hearing test will be conducted on both right and left ears, checking for hearing capacity and any sign of disease or injuries.


The candidate must have sufficient agility, coordination, endurance, reaction speed, and strength to meet crane operation, rigger and signal person demands. The candidate must not have physical defects or any emotional instability that could be hazardous to themselves, their performance or others. The candidate must not be prone to seizures or loss of physical control.

Substance Abuse Policy

The candidate must comply with the NCCCO's Substance Abuse Policy by avoiding prescriptions or over-the-counter medications which could impair the ability to operate cranes safely. Contraband substances include illegal drugs, controlled substances (even trace amounts), designer drugs, look-alike drugs, or any substance which may have an impairing effect on the human body. This includes any substance or drug considered a depressant, hallucinogen, narcotic, or stimulant.

An exception to this rule is that an operator may use such a substance or drug if it is prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner. The prescribing licensed medical practitioner must be familiar with the operator's medical history, assigned duties, and have advised the operator that the prescribed substance or drug will not adversely affect the operator's ability to safely operate a service truck and its crane.

Written & Practical Exams

The candidate must pass the STC written and practical exams within twelve (12) months of one another. The STC certification is valid for five (5) years.

Written Exam

The candidate must pass a Written Exam which tests a candidate's knowledge of the following:

Site Knowledge

The candidate must demonstrate the knowledge of responsibilities that comes with managing personnel and work site conditions. The understanding of how the controlling entity, job site, parent company or crane operator conduct and manage responsibilities is imperative for a candidate to pass this section.

Ground Stability

The candidate must understand elements that affect ground stability below and on the surface.

Proper Use of Supporting Materials

  • Blocking
    Every candidate should know the definition of blocking as hoisting a load using a system of pulleys (or blocks) and how to avoid two-blocking, which is when the hook block comes in contact with the boom tip from hoisting up, extending, or lowering the boom.
  • Cribbing
    Candidates must be able to identify a box crib as the temporary wooden box which supports the load of heavy objects. Engaging the box crib is called cribbing.
  • Matting
    Matting should be understood as the use of timber, composite, steel, or engineered material as a flat, portable platform for cranes and other construction equipment.

Electrical Power Line Hazards

A candidate must understand how to properly access the job site. Also, the candidate must be able to identify pinch and crush points. In addition, he or she must properly manage personnel during assembly and disassembly of the crane.


A candidate must know current federal regulations and industry standards. It is highly recommended that the candidate study the ASME B30.5, which can be purchased online.

In the OSHA regulations section, the candidate must understand 1910.180 and OSHA 1926 Subpart CC.

The candidate must know how to lift, swing and place a load smoothly. He or she must be able to identify items such as wire rope, reeving, parts of a line, and types of signals such as hand, voice/audio, audible, and new/non-standard signals.

Crane Inspections Procedures and Requirements

Before an actual inspection, a pre-inspection is conducted which gathers information about a crane's specifications and the operator's qualifications. An inspector will look for maintenance records and previous inspection records. The inspector will verify that the proper operator's manual for the crane is being used. The inspector will also observe the operator to evaluate knowledge of functional limitations, capacity, and restrictions imposed on the crane.

The candidate must know the types of inspections and their frequencies.

  • Frequent Inspections
    Frequent inspections are held at the beginning of each shift by the operator. As the inspector, the candidate should walk around the crane and assess it for any defects or problem areas. Any components which have a direct impact on day-to-day use are inspected during this time and during operation. The inspector is looking for any defects that could render the machine unsafe for operation.
  • Periodic Inspections
    Periodic inspections do not occur at specific times and can be conducted monthly to annually. This type of inspection is used to determine if any of the crane's components are in need of replacement or repair for proper and safe operation. This inspection includes the items of a daily inspection with the addition of checking for excessive wear, structural defects, and air or hydraulic leaks.

For a list of specific items to check, see section 4.6 of OSHA's Mobile Crane Inspection Guide.

Additionally, review the inspection checklist for both frequent and periodic inspections.

Operator Aids

A candidate must know and understand the use and function of operator aids. Included in this list are Load Moment Indicators (LMI). Load Movement Indicators are systems that sense overturning movement by calculating the load multiplied by the radius.

The candidate should know that anti-two block devices or two-block damage prevention systems keep the lower load block, or hook block, from coming in contact with the upper load block, or boom point sheave assembly.

He or she should know where the level indicator, boom angle indicator, and boom length indicator are located. These anti-upset devices are used to prevent cranes from tipping or over-turning and ultimately protect against chassis hardware failure. Spirit levels, mounted in the crane's cab, are used by operators to gauge the crane's levelness. In accordance to the load chart established by the manufacturer, this is valid only for the parameters, including degree of level in all four directions. Making sure that the crane is always level reduces the likelihood of side pull forces on the boom.

The candidate must know alternative operating procedures when these operator aids malfunction (See How to React to the Following Situations).

Candidates should know and understand the use and function of safety devices, including horns, holding/check valve devices, and the emergency stop. They should also know the proper procedures for operating safely near energized power lines.

The candidate should know hand signals given by a qualified signal person when the load is not in full view. All candidates should know to keep a load under control with nylon or polypropylene tag lines where there may be hazards to employees.

Know How To React To The Following Situations

  • Electric Power Line Contact
    If the crane boom comes in contact with a live power line, the candidate must know to immediately swing the boom into the clear or jump fully from the cab.
  • Loss of Stability
    The candidate must know that prevention methods and devices are imperative to avoid tipping of a crane. If a crane tips, the best reaction is to clear the area to avoid any structural collapses.
  • Block and Line Twisting
    Candidates must know to refrain from hoisting a load in which a line or block becomes twisted.
  • Personnel Under the Load or in the Fall Zone
    The candidate must know to maintain a safe clearance from all personnel when lifting a load. If someone wanders into the lift zone, the operator must cease operation until the area is clear.

Techincal Knowledge

Candidates must know how to read and utilize manufacturer's load charts. They must know to use the measurement of the fully extended boom and outriggers. The rating includes the lift capacity, dimensions and weight of the crane, the lift range and angle, and crane in motion (lift capacity while crane is slowly rolling). Lift capacity is expressed in foot-pounds or ft. lbs., which is the unit used to describe the force of a pound displaced through a foot (length) of material. If a crane can lift 2,000 pounds at 3 feet from the center of rotation, it is a 6,000 ft. lb. crane.

Practical Exam

If an operator can attest to 1,000 hours of crane-related experience during certification period, the Practical Exam is unnecessary.

The Practical Exam requires the candidate to successfully conduct 6 timed tasks:

Pre-operational InspectionN/AIdentify 5 items on the crane which are part of the pre-operational inspection; Describe how you would inspect the crane and what you would look for.
Chain-in Circle2 minutesRaise a chain to clear obstacles and testing personnel; land the chain inside test circle without dragging or having hook or any part of the chain touching the ground.
Test Weight in Pole Circle2 minutesLift test weight and place inside circle; Must be done in optimum time; Weight does not touch ground outside designated area, knock ball off pole or knock poll over.
Zigzag Corridor Forward5 ½ minutesGuide test weight through corridor; Avoid contacting anything, including the ground; Must not exceed twice the optimum time.
Zigzag Corridor Reverse6 minutesGuide test weight through corridor without using telescoping function; Must not knock ball off pole, move pole base off line, pass poles with the chain off the ground, touch load to ground outside designated area, exceed optimum time, circumvent the course.
Safe Shutdown and Securing ProceduresN/ADescribe safe shutdown procedures you would apply to the crane before leaving the site.

Practical Exam Video