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Get to know the Massachusetts hoisting regulations program

By Brock Huffstutler

August 8, 2023

mini excavatorSince the 1990s, regulations have been in place that affect the operation of hoisting equipment in Massachusetts. These regulations affect all rental operators in the state renting this type of equipment as well as those from outside the state renting this equipment to be used in Massachusetts — which could include rental businesses in every state in the American Rental Association’s (ARA) Region One.

Through the efforts of the ARA of Massachusetts, rental businesses now have a way that their customers can rent and use this equipment without the need to obtain a full license from the Massachusetts Office of Public Safety and Inspections (OPSI), formerly known as the Department of Public Safety (DPS).

Everyone operating hoisting equipment, whether owned or rented, must hold a valid Hoisting Engineer license issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Besides affecting customers who rent such equipment, the regulations also affect rental companies using their own equipment around the business.

Although the requirement for licenses for hoisting equipment has been the law for several decades, regulations enacted in 2014 permitted qualified rental stores to offer their unlicensed customers the option to obtain a Short Term Operating Permit, allowing customers to rent and use this equipment within certain limitations.

Hoisting machinery regulations in Massachusetts control the operation of most excavating equipment as well as lifting equipment. Skid steers, track loaders, mini excavators, loader/backhoes and some of the smaller walk-behind machines all are subject to these regulations. Any powered equipment that meets any one of the following criteria is subject to the regulations:

  • Can lift over 500 lbs.
  • Can lift over 10 ft.
  • Has a bucket capacity over ¼ cu. yd.

The regulations created two new licensing categories:

  1. 2D — Compact Hoisting machinery. This classification is required to operate hoisting machinery in the Class 2 (Excavation) category with a gross vehicle weight not exceeding 10,000 lbs. Those with a Class 2 license greater than 2D machinery also can operate compact hoisting equipment.
  2. 1D — General Industrial Warehouse Fork Lift equipment. This classification is needed to operate equipment in indoor facilities. Anyone with a Class 1 grade greater than 1D also can operate this kind of equipment.

What do companies in Massachusetts or those renting equipment into Massachusetts need to do?

License staff. Make sure everyone working with this equipment is licensed. For more information and available licensing course materials, visit At Leisure Licensing at

Submit an application to be classified as a “Short Term Rental Entity.” A business designated as a short-term rental entity will need to show proof of an approved training program used to provide temporary hoisting licenses. As a service to members, the ARA of Massachusetts has partnered with At Leisure Licensing to offer a pre-approved training program for ARA of Massachusetts members. In addition, someone on staff must be designated as the “short-term rental entity facilitator” who is responsible for overseeing the program in your business. No temporary permit shall be issued by the rental business without a valid facilitator who has been approved by OPSI.

Before submitting to the state, reach out to the ARA of Massachusetts’ representative for a required approval form. Before submitting to become a “Short Term Rental Entity,” contact Steve Reitter of Steves Rental, Millis, Mass., at, for a form authorizing participation in the ARA of Massachusetts’ hoisting program. This form must be submitted to the state with your application and will expedite your processing.

What does your customer need to get a temporary permit? Renters seeking a temporary permit must be 18, have a valid driver’s license and submit all appropriate documents and complete the State approved to taking the training program.

What if they already have a Hoisting Engineers License? Anyone who already has a hoisting machinery license with a Class 2 restriction, including the “2D — Compact Hoisting Machinery” restriction may rent compact hoisting equipment from a business without having to take the approved training or obtain a temporary permit. A 2D Restriction may only use equipment 10,000 pounds and under. You should personally see their license and validate their license through the link at the ARA of Massachusetts’ website,

Click here for more information on the hoisting law and requirements.

At, you can find links to:

  • The Temporary Operators Permit online courses that are required to rent equipment through an approved ARA of Massachusetts (ARAM rental facility) member location.
  • The site where you can look up a DPS license to verify the status of a license issued to an individual, companies or facilities by OPSI.

For questions or more information on the ARA of Massachusetts’ special partnership and discounted courses with At Leisure Licensing, contact Steve Reitter at