Section 65 of Chapter 146, Title XX. Part I of the Massachusetts General Laws requires that “Whoever desires to act as an operator of hoisting machinery shall apply to the Department (of Public Safety) for a license.” Note that “shall” is used in a legal context, in which case it is construed as stronger than “must.”
Section 53 states that “anyone who will operate derricks, cableways, machinery used for discharging cargoes, and temporary elevator cars used on excavation work or used for hoisting building material, when the motive power to operate such machinery is mechanical and other than steam, including but not limited to … lattice cranes, derricks, cranes with or without wire ropes … overhead hoists (underhung), overhead cranes, underhung cranes, monorail cranes, lifting devices, cableways, and powered platforms, or any other equipment that has the minimum capability of hoisting the load higher than 10 feet, and either the capability of lifting loads greater than 500 pounds or the capacity of the bucket exceeds 1/4 cubic yards must hold a license from the Department.1”
Massachusetts Hoisting License Classifications
There are 14 categories – officially referred to as “restrictions” – of hoisting licenses in Massachusetts. They are:
- 1A, which qualifies the holder of the license to operate all types of hoisting equipment, including derricks and lattice cranes2
- 1B, which qualifies the holder of the license to operate telescoping booms with cables
- 1C, which qualifies the holder of the license to operate telescoping booms without cables
- 1D, which qualifies the holder of the license in forklift safety and operations
- 2A, which qualifies the holder of the license to operate excavators
- 2B, which qualifies the holder of the license to operate front-end loaders and backhoes
- 2C, which qualifies the holder of the license to operate front-end loaders and unloaders
- 2D, which qualifies the holder of the license to operate compact hoisting machinery
- 3A, which qualifies the holder of the license to operate air-powered and electrical powered equipment
- 4A, which is unrestricted
- 4B, which qualifies the holder of the license to operate oil rigs
- 4C, which qualifies the holder of the license to operate pipeline side booms
- 4D, which qualifies the holder of the license to operate concrete pumps
- 4E, which qualifies the holder of the license to operate catch basin cleaners
- 4F, which qualifies the holder of the license to operate sign hangers
- 4G, which qualifies the holder of the license to operate mowers
- Applicant must be at least 18 years of age.
- Applicant must possess a valid driver’s license or ID issued by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.
- Applicant must submit a completed Hoisting Machinery Application form.
- Applicant must submit a passport-size and style photo (2 x 2 inches) displaying a headshot, from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.4
- Applicant must submit either a medical certificate from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation5, an ANSI/ASME B30.5-204 Qualifications for Operators, or an Intrastate Medical Waiver from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.6
- Applicant must submit a fee of $75.00 by check or money order made out to The Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
- Applicant must pass the hoisting exam issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety
From Application to Examination
Once an application has been submitted and approved, applicants should typically anticipate receiving an exam date sometime during the month following the month in which the application was submitted. Processing may take longer during periods of high demand.
Applicants will receive notice of the time and place for their exam two weeks before the exam date.
Exams are scheduled throughout on weekdays throughout the year until the first week of December.7
The Hoisting Operator Exam
The examination tests the applicant’s knowledge of hoisting machinery, including all of the machinery components, best practices of operation, hand signals, safety and the Massachusetts General Laws about hoisting (Chapter 146, Sections 53-55 and 64-67).8 Copies of the Massachusetts General Laws are available at most local libraries. They are also readily available online at the Massachusetts Legislature’s website.9
The written exam is comprised of less than 50 questions, all of which are multiple choice. A score of 70% or higher is considered a passing grade.
The State of Massachusetts also recommends that applicants familiarize themselves with OSHA regulations,10 owner’s manuals and safety manuals11 for the equipment to be operated, and the information at Dig Safe.12
DO NOT TAKE THE EXAM UNLESS YOU ARE PREPARED. If you fail the exam, you may not take it again for 60 days.
Rental Equipment Rules13
Rental companies must apply for status as a “Short-Term Rental Entity.” The company must have at least one trained employee who is the designated “short-term rental entity facilitator” by the Department of Public Safety, which person must oversee the equipment rental program.
All employees of rental equipment companies must be licensed before they are permitted to operate the equipment.
Equipment renters must be trained and licensed to operate the specific equipment rented to them, even if they intend to operate the equipment on their own property. Short-Term Operating Permits may be obtained at qualified Short Term Rental Entities. No person shall hold more than one temporary license within any 45-day period.
Revocation of License
The granting of a Massachusetts Hoisting License is a privilege, not a right. A hoisting license may be revoked or suspended on the grounds of:
- Operating hoisting equipment while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Failure to:
- Report accidents
- Report injuries
- Comply with Massachusetts General Law regarding hoisting operations
- Pay taxes
- Providing false or misleading information on either a license application or renewal or otherwise improper use or issuance of a Massachusetts Hoisting License
Suspensions and revocations may be appealed to the Department of Public Safety within one week of the date of suspension or revocation.
All holders of a Massachusetts Hoisting License must complete continuing education in their license restriction during each two-year period that their license is valid and before its renewal date.
Continuing education must be conducted by an entity that has been approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety.
The required number of continuing education hours depends upon the license restriction.
- Categories 1D, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 4F, and 4G require one hour of regulatory and industry standard education and one hour of equipment-specific education for a total of two hours.
- All other categories require two hours of each type of training, for a total of four hours.
Upon satisfactory completion of training, the training entity will issue a Uniform Certificate of Completion.
Massachusetts Contractors Academy
The Massachusetts Contractors Academy has approved by the Department of Public Safety as a provider for Massachusetts Hoisting License continuing education.14 We offer approved courses for 1a, 1B, 1C, 1D, 2S, 2B. 2C, 2D, and 3A restrictions.
Each of our courses is available online. Interested parties may log on to our website15 and take the entire course at their own pace. Applicants may stop and start each course as it best fits their own schedule without having to return to the beginning of the course. Once you have started a course, you may save it and return to it at your convenience.
We take the worries out of course completion because we do not require payment for our continuing education courses for a Massachusetts Hoisting License until you have completed the course. Each four-hour course costs only $59. The two-hour course for restriction 1D is only $49.
Visit our website and Take our Hoisting License classes for free!