A new Canadian crane safety council was established recently at a national conference in Edmonton and is in the early stages of building a membership base and developing a reputation in the construction industry.

“The panel discussion at the conference was excellent and very positive because there were many people, who stood up to ask how they can join and get involved in the new safety council,” said B.C. Association for Crane Safety (BCACS) executive director Fraser Cocks, who is also the acting chair of the newly established Canadian Hoisting & Rigging Safety Council (CHRSC).

“Initially we need to get the various jurisdictions to participate because each one is very different. We are looking for champions, who understand the unique way that each jurisdiction does business and functions.”

The CHRSC was established during the Crane & Rigging Conference Canada 2012 in Alberta’s capital on Sept. 14, when the initial starting directors were introduced to attendees.

Five directors, who are senior executives of companies, organizations and associations across Canada, signed a document to meet the legal requirements necessary to get the council up and running.

The directors also formed a panel to lead a discussion with attendees, which started the process of outlining the aims and objectives of the council.

“What is unique about the process is the new council was established by bringing the industry together,” said Cocks.

“This is not a government initiative and nothing has been forced on us. We are taking care of all aspects of business and working towards a common goal.”

The driving force behind the creation of the CHRSC is a unique initiative to harmonize regulations and credentials in B.C. and Alberta.

“The B.C. Association for Crane Safety has established a close and ongoing working relationship with Alberta,” said Cocks.

“We will use the Alberta-BC relationship as a model that will be extended to the rest of Canada, while a new structure is developed to include and welcome all jurisdictions. This structure will be refined as we go along.”

The Government of Alberta has been taking a close look at the B.C. assessment process for crane operators, which operates without any provincial government funding.

Under the B.C. model, assessors go out to site, as opposed to having crane operators come to a central location to be tested.

This approach eliminates the cost of renting a site and a crane, and relieves the operators of that stress of being tested on an unfamiliar crane.

The practical assessment is supervised by the BCACS and conducted by a third party assessor, Fulford Harbour Group.

The BCCSA is also in the early stages of developing a reciprocity agreement with Washington state.

The first phase of the project, which involves a feasibility study, is complete.

Phase two of the project will include research that analyzes the details of the regulations, standards and testing.

The BCACS spent the three years developing the CraneSafe Certificate system, in partnership with WorkSafeBC, the B.C. Industry Training Authority and 52 members of the crane industry.

Established in November 2005, the BCACS promotes the development of an industry-driven crane operator qualification system in BC.

Staff Writer, Journal of Commerce

Originally published by the Journal of Commerce.