Dedicated to the promotion of crane safety and national professionalism through the harmonization of hoisting and rigging standards across Canada.

New Year’s Message

As we enter 2023, I would like to provide a brief update on what has been transpiring in the world of crane operations and invite input into the opportunities and challenges that are emerging.

I stepped down as executive Director of BC Crane Safety in 2019 to focus on a variety of opportunities that had been taking shape since 2012. As the only association in Canada with responsibility for crane operator certification, BC Crane Safety was becoming a lightning rod for issues that transcended its core mandate and jurisdiction, such as labour supply and promotion of standards harmonization.

As discussed in the 2019 Final Report on the Canada / European Union Crane Operator Credential MRA Project, which was administered by BC Crane Safety with financial support from the Government of Canada, a variety of initiatives have been underway since 2012. In that year discussions with Ireland led to a Memorandum of Understanding resulting in the migration of several crane operators to Canada to address an acute operator shortage.

Discussions with Ireland led ultimately to a Mutual Recognition Agreement between BC Crane Safety and the European Crane Operator License Foundation (ECOL). Implementation of ECOL’s certification program is voluntary and just as its implementation began to gain momentum, COVID-19 slowed its progress considerably. As the world reopens there is a growing interest within EU nations in direct and independent recognition agreements to support mutual recognition of operators’ home credentials.

Beyond the agreement with ECOL, discussions of individual agreements have been ongoing with Ireland, Denmark and the UK.

The Canadian Hoisting and Rigging Safety Council was established in 2012 to serve as a national hub in support of progress on all of these fronts. With BC Crane Safety in capable hands, as covid enters an endemic phase it is time for a renewed focus on these discussions and also confirm ongoing domestic challenges and opportunities while identifying any new ones that have begun to emerge.

As an example, unlike other jurisdictions including Europe and the US, in Canada there is no officially recognized national standard against which a rigger’s skills can be measured. This has historically raised significant occupational health and safety concerns as crane operators cannot be certain of the qualifications of the riggers they deal with from day to day.

The skills required to rig present issues that are both complex and interesting. For example, in the US all activity “below the hook” is the responsibility of the person performing the rigging. In Canada, this responsibility falls on the operator. This is a significant difference and it made rigging a very popular topic of conversation during my years at BC Crane Safety.

This and similar conversations have continued after I stepped away from BC Crane Safety and many have been asking what will happen to the Council, and how will these important issues be addressed going forward?

The Council was established to support coordinated engagement on such issues across provinces and internationally. Our level of engagement will gain momentum in coming months. Does the absence of a common rigging standard remain a concern today? Do we need a rigging standard? What can be done? Have other priorities emerged?

Whether you are an employer, supplier or operator I would like to invite your input into the renewal of the Council’s priorities. If you would like to participate and have a voice, you can start that conversation by completing a brief survey via the link below. Also, please register on this website so we can keep you informed of ongoing activities.

I look forward to receiving your input.

Fraser Cocks
Executive Director, CHRSC