Warning for Massachusetts Residents Renting Hoisting Equipment

Massachusetts Department of Public Safety (DPS) requires licensing for all operators of hoisting machinery where the height of the lift exceeds ten feet or the weight of the load exceeds 500 pounds or the capacity of the bucket exceeds ¼ cubic yard capacity. Back in June 2013 we covered the licensing regulations in our blog.Massachusetts residents are also covered under this licensing regulation. That’s right, if you are using any hoisting equipment on your personal property you are required to obtain a license from the commonwealth of Massachusetts in order to operate the machinery if the capacity meets or exceeds the above measurements. That means if you are planning on renting any machinery to do some work on your property, the rental company will require you to present the operator’s driver’s license as well as a hoisting license in order to rent any equipment that falls under the hoisting laws. If you are working with hoisting machinery without a license in Massachusetts, whether it is on your property or on a jobsite the DPS can force you to stop work, fine you, your company or your workers for non-compliance. If you have rented the equipment the DPS can fine the rental company as well.  The only exemption to the law is for use of hoisting machinery for purely agricultural purposes.The hoisting license requirement for Massachusetts is not new. In fact, the law has been on the books for 15 years. Until 5 years ago it was a felony charge to operate hoisting machinery without a license in Massachusetts. However due to lack of enforcement, the law did not have teeth.  5 years ago it was changed to a civil penalty. I spoke with a representative from Taylor Rental today about the hoisting license requirement and how it has affected his business.  The American Rental Association has met with DPS regarding this licensing requirement, and was recently informed that as of April 2014 they have 22 inspectors, three new field offices, and they will be doing spot inspections at jobsites. He informed me he has had a client call already whose work was shut down for lack of licensing.Initially the DPS had planned to provide temporary licensing that could be procured quickly. Individuals renting compact hoisting machinery are supposed to be able to obtain a temporary permit from a “short-term rental entity” for a fourteen consecutive day rental period upon the completion of the short-term rental entity’s training program.  A short-term rental entity is a person or company that has been approved by the DPS that is in the business of renting compact hoisting machinery and issuing temporary permits in lieu of full licensure. However, no one has been approved for short-term rental entity status as of yet. Taylor Rental will hopefully gain approval from the DPS within the next month, but the approval has been delayed several times already.So enforcement is in full swing, and the potential for fines is real.  The fine for the first offense is $1,000 per person. So if you are an operator of hoisting machinery for a company on a jobsite where the machinery is rented that means: you can be fined for operating without a license, your company can be fined, the rental company can be fined, and the person behind the counter who rented the machinery to your company can be fined. This goes for any out of state business operating in Massachusetts as well. The fine for the second offense is $4,000 per person.In lieu of the ability to obtain temporary licensing, United Alliance Services can help get you trained and fully-licensed to operate hoisting machinery. Our associates Excellence in Safety hold many classes throughout the year. Give us a call today and one of our representatives can answer your questions regarding the Massachusetts hoisting license process, and help you get registered for an exam prep. class. (877)399-1698