A safer way to operate cranes

National peak body the Crane Industry Council of Australia (CICA) has developed a standardised program for crane operators, to increase safety and competency.

Currently, a High-Risk Work License (HRWL) is the only requirement for crane operators to commence operating cranes, irrespective of experience. HRWLs are issued by state regulators but recognised nationally.

Public and private Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) offer HRWL courses and testing; however, the quality of the training varies.

CICA said a HRWL is the only entry requirement into the crane industry, and experience with specific crane types is not a mandated requirement. To combat this, construction sites often require a HRWL to be supplemented with a Verification of Competency (VOC).

Content for VOCs is currently undefined and unregulated; however, the purpose of VOCs is to assess crane operators’ competency with specific equipment types, such as all terrain cranes, crawler cranes and rough terrain cranes.

Most construction sites have a preferred VOC provider, which results in numerous VOCs being completed for the same operator on the same crane for different job sites.

CICA, as the peak crane industry body, has worked with crane owners, equipment manufacturers, and national and international trainers to develop a standardised assessment program that is machine-specific, impartial, and peer assessed.  

This assessment module is called CrewSafe, and uses an app for documenting evidence of competency.

Each operator is assessed using the same criteria, and by demonstrating those criteria on a specific make and model of crane.

The criteria for competency include:

  • Roadability
  • Performing daily inspections
  • Setting up a crane
  • Configuring the rated capacity indicator
  • Accessing information in the operator’s manual
  • Manoeuvring a load safely

Operators are evaluated by proficient operators within their own workplace, and impartiality is achieved using photo and video evidence of the assessment, which is easily accessed on the app.

CICA said construction sites that use CrewSafe are safer, because they use a regulated process and standard for ensuring crane operator competency. The site supervisor has peace of mind and documented evidence that a crane operator is competent at using a specific crane.  

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