Meeting the needs of industry the United Association/Electric Power Research Institute Industrial Rigging Certification Program provides true third party assurance that the quality of craftsmanship and safety is the highest you can find in industry today.

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Across the country, a number of hoisting and rigging mishaps have occurred this year, some of them significant. Within the construction industry, current and past practice of industry participants has resulted in inadequate qualifications of rigging personnel. Industry safety experts cite an increase in inexperienced and untrained workers are responsible for rigging  loads as a central cause mishaps.

Addressing the needs of Industry

Developed under the leadership of the General President William P. Hite, the UA together with the Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI) established an Industrial Rigging Examination/Certification Program. The UA/EPRI Industrial Rigging Certification Program provides an outstanding tool for determining an individual’s capabilities and competences. This ensures their on-going training needs are provided and validated in a structured environment. The program provides trained, experienced, certified craftsmen. Certified riggers are immediately available throughout the United States at no cost to contractors or their clients. (owners and users).

The Industrial Rigging Certification Program operates in accordance with EPRI’s Third Party “Standardized Task Evaluation” (STE) program. This mandates both written knowledge tests and skills-based, hands-on proficiency evaluations. To develop the evaluations, EPRI uses a systematic approach to the training (SAT) process. This incorporates a rigorous methodology where each task is analyzed step by step.  Each question is developed through an iterative peer- reviewed process. Each test is also evaluated by students, utility users, and steering committee members. This feedback is used to further improve the exams. The methodology is consistent with Institute of Nuclear Power Operations’ (INPO) guidance on personnel assessment and supplemental personnel processing. In addition, the certification program undergoes a rigorous EPRI third party accreditation process.This is in accordance with the EPRI-developed Administration Protocol for Portable Practicals (AP3). To this date the United Association is the only organization that is accredited to the AP3 Standard.

It is not enough for organizations to simply say their members have the training and necessary skills to do the work. Organizations need to have a way of showing it. By the use of the rigger training and UA/EPRI examination/certification programs, the United Association is able to show manufacturers and contractors that by choosing United Association certified riggers they are assured of the highest quality craftsmanship, integrity, and safety available in the construction industry. The implementation of the UA/EPRI Industrial Rigging Certification Program is a continuation of the United Association’s commitment to assure that the best trained and qualified personnel are available for all future rigging requirements in the construction industry. The program is recognized as a significant and progressive step in developing and ensuring skilled riggers for the construction industry.

In the four years of its existence, the program has grown significantly. Today, it is the second largest certification program the United Association operates. With a budget of over $2 million, we will continue to train the best riggers available. Since its inception, the UA/EPRI Industrial Rigging Certification Program has qualified over 2,500 riggers. This allows the United Association to provide industry with highly-skilled workers who deserve the wages and benefits that go with a union job.

.Researching the Benefits

In order to determine whether the Rigging Certification Program meets the needs of industry, the UA conducted a survey. This extensive survey included individuals and organizations involved in the construction industry. Study participants included union members, contractors, manufacturers, and plant/facilities owners.  The research study utilizes first hand information of the benefits associated with United Association trained and certified riggers. Research showed the program provides significant advantages for contractors, manufacturers and owners. These benefits include the elimination of rigger certification costs, no delays in job start-up. It also provides confidence that United Association riggers have proven abilities & skills. Close to 90% of the organizations responding to the survey felt the rigger certification program met their needs, this is certainly a noteworthy statistic. Data shows the United Association is on the right track with their program and will continue work closely with industry participants.

Going Forward

It is the continuing goal of the United Association to provide highly trained UA craftsmen.Our craftsmen have detailed knowledge and experience that will contribute to lower plant operating costs. In fact, many utilities and other industrial facilities throughout the United States and Canada have already established completion of the UA/EPRI Industrial Rigging Certification Program as a necessary hiring requirement.