On Friday the 5th of July 2019 the Crane Industry Council of Australia New South Wales branch (CICA NSW) hosted their annual regional meeting. This year it was hosted in Newcastle with over 70 crane business owners and management during the day.
The full-day event had representatives from the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).
During the event, CICA NSW presented the amazing initiatives that they are working on for the industry. Patrick Cran presented on CrewSafe, the machine-specific Verification of Competency (VOC) assessments for the industry. This voluntary crane assessment program was started in consultation with the mobile crane industry and CICA. CrewSafe recognises that different makes and models of cranes differ and thus the way operators are trained on each machine should be different. For example, a 40T Liebherr is not the same as 40T Tadano, despite being the same weight. Through CrewSafe operators are tested on all machine-specific tasks from setup, configuration and operation. Throughout the process, photos and videos are taken of the assessment and uploaded into the portal accessible to crane business owners. Through this assessment process, CrewSafe becomes a verification of competencies for the industry. Although solely based around operators at the moment, there are current plans to expand the assessments to dogging and rigging by the end of the year.
Although there are challenges such as having to pay for CrewSafe and also the Tier 1 general contractor verification process and WorkCover not mandating CrewSafe because it is a third-party service, the initiative continues to grow strong with the support of the mobile crane industry and CICA members advocating for its use to become an industry standard. The crane industry faces the predicament of balancing in-depth training against labour shortage in the industry. Through CrewSafe crane business owners can be assured that operators can do the job to the high standard that is required to execute work effectively and safely instead of relying on resumes of tickets and licenses without visual verification of work and skillset.
CICA also launched the Outrigger app in NSW which estimates the required bog mat or timber area for a given crane and load combination. Once calculated the results can be emailed or SMS back to the site or the office. The app assists taxi crane operators, who given the nature of the job may not have all the information they require to set up safely onsite. Through the Outrigger app, CICA hopes to create a new process that sees verification from the outrigger to an owner/manager. Through this new step, the prevention of falling cranes hopes to be achieved. John March from JPM Cranes presented the app during the regional meeting and outlined that in the matter of safety adopting new technologies can be very helpful. New processes are hard and change management is key to creating new habits and although there might be extra downtime with the new verification process, John March passionately advised during the event
“What is 2 hours of downtime compared to a fallen down crane? If we can stop just one crane from falling from the use of this app… it’s worth it!”.
In addition to recognising the positive impact technology is making to the crane industry, the regional meeting also addressed the importance of adopting traineeships into crane business operations. Emma Makinson from Coffs City Cranes showcased the work their team has been doing with 5 trainees in their business. Current trainees include Year 9-12 early school leavers to current staff who wish to upskill their current skillset from operator to rigger. Emma outlined the key benefits for Coffs City Cranes in adopting traineeships into their business. Specifically,
– Introducing new talent to the crane industry
– Combining employment and training
– Closing the generational gap within the industry
– Creating good habits by training younger people the correct and safe way to work
– Contributing to the local community and economy
The day ended with a charity dinner and auction for the Guide Dogs of NSW and ACT and raised over $42,000. The regional meeting definitely highlighted how dedicated CICA is to the industry and how they fiercely advocate for the mobile crane industry. At Assignar, we are proud supporters of CICA and the work that they do for not only their members but the industry as a whole. We are excited to see the progress of their initiatives and for the CICA Conference held in the Hunter Valley this year from the 17th – 19th of October 2019.