CPCS A60 Mobile Crane Course

1. Introduction

The course aims to provide the candidate with the essential knowledge and skills involved in mobile craning. This starts from the very basics, such as an understanding of the industry and the roles and responsibilities of the operator, to the more complex lifting plans. The course will give them confirmation of these skills in the form of a recognized qualification.

The objective of this Mobile Crane Training Course is to equip the candidate with the basic knowledge and practical skills involved in operating a mobile crane. This includes any new and experienced operators who need a formal qualification, anyone requiring a formal qualification of their skills, or experienced operators who need a formal qualification as a first step to achieving a red CPCS card.

This course is designed by the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) to provide candidates with thorough practical and theoretical training in operating a mobile crane, including planning and preparation, safe operation of the crane, and lifting operations. This course is for mobile crane operators who have either received no formal instruction or for those who require refresher training. It is a 2-4 day CPCS A60 Mobile Crane training course, depending on the experience of the candidates.

1.1. Course Overview

This course is designed to provide candidates with the opportunity to acquire competence in operating the A60 mobile crane. Understand the nature of the machine and hazards associated with using the cranes. The course comprises of classroom and practical training delivered by experienced instructor through a series of module sessions designed to build upon each one, the main priority is to ensure candidate is correctly operating the machine and familiarise themselves with the safety procedures which must be taken. This is a 5 day technical course and a test day, dependent on the experience and knowledge of the machine prior to attending the course some candidates may require extra days training which would be at the instructors discretion. This would also reflect on a reduced cost in test/s.

1.2. Objectives

The main objective of the A60 course is to provide the candidate with a thorough practical and theoretical training in operating a mobile crane, to enable the candidate to attain the CPCS Red Operator Card. This is a five-day course for novice candidates and experienced operators. Experienced worker tests (no training) are for those operators who have been working as a mobile crane operator for over 2 years, but have never held any form of operating certificate or card. These can be either the ‘Trained Operator’ or ‘Red Operator Card’. This is typically older, more experienced workers. The course will consist of classroom-based tutorials using video and PowerPoint along with role play and group work. All this is designed to give a basic understanding of the requirements and knowledge needed to operate a crane. This will include: – An understanding of the industry – The needs, attitude, and behavior of an operator (professionalism) – An understanding of the machinery in which you plan to operate – The individual’s capabilities and limitations in their operatives The final part of the theory lessons is to evaluate the candidates with a knowledge check to confirm they have taken in the information. The CPCS theory test is a must, whether or not the candidate is experienced. This may be a simple verbal test for the very low literate candidate, or a written and practical test for the higher numerate literate candidate. The theory test requires a set level of pass electronically before a theory Technical Test can be selected from four multiple-choice question papers.

1.3. Target Audience

The target audience for the A60 Mobile Crane course is aimed at personnel who will be required to operate the machine to lift and transfer loads. The people this course is aimed at are site operatives or any persons who are required to plan lift. This course can also be used as a yard or maintenance persons course if they are required to move and relocate machinery. Delegates attending this course should be 16 years of age and above. They should provide 2 passport-sized photographs and some form of identification such as a passport or driving licence. They should also confirm that they are medically fit to operate the plant and have a good understanding of both written and spoken English. This is to ensure that at the end of the course the delegates have every chance of passing the theory and practical assessments.

2. Crane Safety

Additionally, the lifting operation may need to be postponed if the weather is bad. Poor weather conditions can pose a hazard not only to the crane operator but also to the signalman and other construction workers. A decision should be made to determine if it is safe to proceed or if it poses a risk to those involved. If there is uncertainty about whether it is safe to proceed, the operation should be stopped and the supervisor should be consulted before continuing. If the operation needs to be postponed, the load should be lowered and the attachments should be removed from the crane.

Crane safety in the workplace is key to preventing anyone from being injured during tasks or lifting operations. It is important to inform the supervisor on site about the lifting operation in a methodical manner. A lift plan should be provided and authorization should be obtained before proceeding. It is important to avoid changing the lifting operation based on the supervisor’s wishes without following the official/unofficial change process. This can have a negative impact on the safety of the procedure, and the crane operator may be held liable for not obtaining clarity on the lifting operation.

2.1. Safety Precautions

It is a statutory requirement that plant operators must ensure the safety of others and that they do not put others at risk. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires all employees, as far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure the safety of others or to not do anything that may adversely affect the health and safety of others. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires managers to assess and control any risk to employees or to the health and safety of others. By following the safety precautions outlined in this section, crane operatives can demonstrate that they are following the law.

The most important aspect of operating any plant equipment is the safety of the personnel and of the general public. Safety is also about protecting yourself from long-term harm. By using the appropriate safety precautions, road crane operatives can reduce the risk of injury to themselves or others, minimizing the likelihood of lost time incidents or litigation.

2.2. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal protective equipment is protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments. This type of equipment is designed to protect the user from injury or infection. The hazards addressed by protective equipment include physical, electrical, heat, chemicals, biohazards, and airborne particulate matter. Protective equipment may be worn for job-related occupational safety and health purposes, as well as for sports and other recreational activities. Protective equipment can compromise the improvement of PPE. Some qualities can be measured by durability, reliability, comfort, and it must not create other workplace hazards. Personal protective equipment can be classified into several types. The modern types of PPE are eye and face protection. This equipment is designed to protect the eyes and face from impact injuries, such as during medical or laboratory research, processing or using chemicals, and also from infectious material. Examples of this equipment are safety spectacles, goggles, and full faceshields. Foot protection is used to prevent feet from injuries caused by crushing impact, penetrations, chemical hazards, and it can also protect from electrical and static hazards. This equipment includes safety toes and special-purpose shoes. Hand protection provides protection from skin absorption, harmful pollution contact, abrasions, cuts, punctures, and potentially damaging temperatures. It can also protect from chemicals and infectious conditions. Examples of this equipment are gloves and finger cots. Head protection is designed to protect the head from impact blows, electrical conduct, and the hazard of flying objects. Examples of this equipment are hard hats and helmets. Skin protection provides protection from the harmful effects caused by radiation, chemicals, and injurious biological agents. There are several PPE options that offer protection, such as hats and other full body suits. Hearing protection is designed to protect the ear from sound that can cause ear damage. A relatively recent technology, PPE is always improving and manufacturers are constantly developing more effective protective equipment to implement safety and eliminate hazards for workers.

2.3. Crane Inspection

Crane inspection prior to operation is very important. The inspection should be carried out by the operator, who should know what to look for. Using a structured format for the inspection will ensure that you cover all areas. A visual inspection of the machine is carried out first. Is the machine secure to travel on (if mobile)? Are the wheels/tracks in good condition? Are the brakes and handbrake in good working order? Is there any evidence of leaks from the engine coolant, hydraulic oil, diesel or the battery? Is the condition of the jib and counterweight suitable, are there any cracks or splits in the metal? These are the questions that you should be asking when carrying out a visual inspection. Any defects found should be logged and reported to the plant supervisor who will advise on the next course of action. A functional inspection is then carried out. The operator should be looking for evidence of any problems that may have occurred during the last operation of the machine. The operator should operate each machine function to ensure that all mechanisms are working properly and check for any unusual noises coming from the mechanisms. A test lift with a light load will determine if the machine can handle its normal safe working load, without any problems occurring (stalling of the engine, loss of hydraulic pressure). Any sign of mechanical or electrical failure should result in the operation of the machine being halted and the problem being investigated by a competent person. A competent person is someone with the necessary knowledge and practical experience to carry out the required task in a safe manner. This person could be the plant supervisor or a mechanic who has experience with mobile cranes.

2.4. Crane Stability

The previous paragraphs would suggest that an operator should always operate with outriggers fully extended as this will provide the maximum stability for a lift. However, all mobile cranes are fitted with an automatic safe load indicating device (SLI). The SLI computes the crane capacity by measuring the hydraulic pressure on each outrigger and calculating the center of gravity of the crane. Upon input of the load weight and radius, the SLI will allow the lift providing that the capacity is not exceeded and the load will remain within the stability triangle. This system can be bypassed in D.C. mode; however, for lift planning, it is essential that the load chart be consulted.

Stability of the mobile crane is governed by the basic principles of gravitational forces and force equilibrium. If the center of gravity of the crane and load combination acts inside the stability triangle formed by the crane’s centerline and the two diagonals running from the front and rear outriggers, then the combination will be stable (Refer to fig. 1). If the center of gravity shifts outside the stability triangle, the crane will tip over. The location of the stability triangle is a function of the weight of the vehicle and the length of the outriggers. The farther an outrigger is extended, the larger the stability triangle. This means that a crane with outriggers fully extended has a greater lifting capacity than a crane with outriggers partially extended (Refer to fig. 2).

3. Crane Components

The main components of a mobile crane are similar to that of any hydraulic machinery that has been built for the last 100 years. The crane is mounted on a chassis which houses the operator cabin and the engine. A telescopic boom is attached to the chassis and is the main arm of the crane that does all of the lifting. There are 3 general methods for the boom to lift: on a standard crane, the boom is raised and lowered using a cable and a pulley, a hydraulic crane, the boom can be raised or lowered with the flow of hydraulic fluid in the piston, and some cranes can be a combination of both. Connected to the end of the boom is the hook or the lifting attachment, which can be raised or lowered to the desired height. At the crane, it is also common to have a designated spot to affix a jib to add an extra boom extension. When lifting in a project, it is important to identify which type of crane is most suitable for the job, and it is just as important to understand the implications of using each type of crane. For instance, a hydraulic crane is most suitable for any job site with limited access. This is due to the fact that a hydraulic crane can travel on its own tracks with the load without having to be limited by trucking routes as is the case with a mobile truck crane. But the trade-off is that a standard crane is more efficient at any given lift and is more versatile in moving from lift to lift.

3.1. Main Parts of a Mobile Crane

In most developing countries, it is the wheel loading condition that affects the specification of cranes that are hired for construction work since overloaded cranes often cause damage to the road surface and remedial work to repair the surface is expensive. After discussing these issues, the module provides an exposition of simple beam theory which is used to calculate bending moments and shear forces in crane lifting beams. This analysis is essential to the selection of an appropriate lifting beam and its configuration at the lift points on the load.

In particular, the forces on each axle due to these transient loads are difficult to estimate without using a mathematical model to simulate the anticipated crane motion. If the loads are uneven, or if the crane is to travel over rough ground or up a gradient, the forces on each wheel may be difficult to estimate and the risk of exceeding the wheel loading specifications will be higher.

The size of a mobile crane, its structural members, and its number of axles are essential to the contents on safe operating speeds. Static forces such as those due to the weight of the crane and any counterweights installed are relatively simple to calculate. Dynamic forces due to acceleration or slowing of the crane motion are more difficult to determine.

3.2. Crane Controls

Outrigger controls have also followed a similar concept. On cranes with fully independent extensions, the control system will monitor how far each outrigger is extended, and the slope of the ground below each pad. The crane will then not allow any lifting operations which could be unsafe or exceed rated capacities for the given set up. Though it can be common to find cranes with fixed or fold-out style outriggers, the benefits of fully independent systems in terms of capacity and stability are highly clear, and are in many cases worth the additional set up time and cost.

Load moment control measures the total amount of force applied by the load to the ground, and the position of the load in relation to the slew center of the upper structure. If at any point during the lift, an operator approaches an unstable position, the control system will either alert the operator, restrict crane movement beyond that point, or in drastic cases prevent further function of crane movements and functions which could affect stability. This is a key improvement from older computer systems with switchboard style controls, in which an operator would have to constantly monitor load weights and radii himself and manually input corresponding rated capacity values. Now this is all done automatically, a much safer and efficient approach to lifting operations.

One of the most important innovations for mobile cranes over the past decade, becoming a standard industry modification, has been the introduction of fully integrated controls. All aspects of crane behavior including engine management, load sensing, and in some cases even steering, are incorporated into easy to use joysticks or control pads. The most crucial changes have been made to load moment and independent outrigger controls.

3.3. Lifting Mechanisms

There are two types of lifting mechanisms – hydraulic and winch. Hydraulic relies on a system of large pumps and hydraulic motors. This uses oil in two cylinders and a piston. When the jack oil is added to the piston, it will extend the cylinder to its full length. Once the jack oil is released, the piston will retract to its original position. The advantage of hydraulic is that it is small and compact and can be operated from the pump to a cylinder over quite a long distance, which may be up to several hundred feet. With modern-day mobile cranes, the hydraulic system is the most advanced and is computer-controlled. The computer control allows the operator to input different variables for the lift, and the system will adjust the oil flow and pressure to suit. This system is most commonly used with all-terrain cranes and city cranes and is only found in larger rough terrain cranes. Winch consists of a spool and powered winding drum. Winches are powered using electric or hydraulic-powered motors. Wire rope is threaded over the lifting sheave and down to the item to be lifted. Differently sized items will require different sheaves. A winch-type mechanism is only found on crawler or older mobile cranes. It is widely disliked by operators as the winch is slow and the crane may become unbalanced with a heavy load; it is also limited to the amount of rope the drum can hold. The rope may also become frayed, and it is very difficult to tell the condition of the rope from visual inspection.

4. Crane Operations

This part of the course covers the role and responsibilities of the mobile crane operator. Also, the Code of Practice and other legislation in the planning, management, and execution of lifting operations. Establishing that the candidates appointed to this role have the requisite competence to do the job. This section may also require the candidate to undertake learning beyond the normal working hours and possibly some on-the-job reflection during a real lifting operation. This may mean the candidate needs to have access to Site Management to gain the relevant knowledge. The overall aim is to attain a level of understanding that enables the operative to prove he can work safely under varying and unpredictable circumstances. This should develop the mindset of “safety for all” and not just to pass an assessment. A quality lift does not always guarantee a safe lift, but a safe lift will always be a quality lift.

4.1. Crane Set-Up

Outriggers should be extended to the recommended radius prior to attempting to lift or swing a load. Failure to do this can cause the crane to become unstable and could exceed the safe working loads for the outrigger. The working load of an outrigger is determined by the surface area of the float (outrigger foot), the ground conditions, and the center of gravity of the crane. Usually, the load is shared between the outriggers, and the maximum load any one outrigger should take is 75% of the overall load. This could result in an unsafe working condition if there is a considerable tilt to one side. Measures can be taken to correct this, such as packing beneath the outrigger float; however, all lifting should cease, and an engineer’s advice should be sought.

The successful assembly of a crane is critical to its safe operation. A mobile crane tends to be most unstable when lifting or lowering a load, and this is when most incidents occur. Components of the crane, such as outriggers, are designed to be positioned and load tested within a degree of levelness and on firm supporting ground. Failure to do this compromises the stability of the crane. Studies have shown that 70-90% of all incidents involving mobile cranes can be attributed to tipping. Many of these incidents can be avoided by ensuring that the crane is set up level, on firm ground, and is double blocked when traveling.

4.2. Load Chart Interpretation

Load charts may provide you with different information. You may receive a radius chart which shows the varying capacities with changing boom radius and length charts for when the machine has a fixed radius and the load is being lifted over a certain height. It is extremely important to understand where the load is being lifted because if it is lifted in a position where capacity is lower than the chart, you could overload the machine. Load charts may also explain certain limitations of the machine. For example, there may be certain areas on a construction site where soft ground can prevent a crane from traveling. Over this area, the machine must be set up on mats. This may reduce its load capacity, and the chart would indicate capacity with the note “on rubber over front” and “on outriggers”. A right decision on the load to be lifted and effective use of load charts can ensure a job completed without a failure in crane operation.

Every crane has a different load chart. The load chart is simply a graph that shows the rated capacity of the machine in different configurations. The most common chart a crane operator will use is a chart with the boom extended and the lift is at a 360-degree angle. From this point, if the boom angle or the extension of the boom changes, there will be a deduction in the capacity of which the machine can safely lift. In the example below, to find out the capacity of this machine to lift a 24T load at a 20m radius on a job with the same incline, the operator would have to extend the boom to 14.5m and should be able to make a 46-degree angle with the load suspended as shown in the picture. The next step would be to locate this configuration on a load chart and ensure the load is within the machine’s rated capacity.

A crane’s load chart is the most important resource a crane operator must be familiar with to ensure the crane is used within its lifting parameters. An overloaded crane can lead to a catastrophic failure. If the load is too heavy, the crane can become unbalanced or the load can swing out of control.

4.3. Rigging and Slinging

Candidates should understand the safe working loads or working load limits of lifting accessories. Candidates should also understand that these may have to be adjusted for angles when slinging certain materials.

Candidates should be able to state the types of lifting accessories and lifting accessories configurations described in the appointed person section of the lifting operations general.

This module is designed to enable the candidate to: – Understand the role and responsibilities of the banksman. – Understand and be able to direct the movement of loads. – Understand the relevant regulations applicable to lifting operations. – Be able to determine the mass of a load. – Understand the importance of load stability.

4.4. Hoisting and Lowering Loads

This section focuses on teaching how to hoist and lower loads. Theoretical input will be given in relation to the effect of shock loading when starting or stopping the winch. The effect the radius of the jib has on the safe working load of the crane. Be aware that this changes at different configurations, i.e. telescoped in at the midpoint or fully extended. The practical input will be to get candidates to hoist a load and drive the crane forwards and backwards, stopping at various points during the maneuver. Candidates should always refer to the crane duties chart in the cab to ensure that they stay within the safe working envelope of the crane. This is also another opportunity to integrate the use of signaller/slingers. The lead signaller can safely guide the crane by standing at a safe distance away from the load and visually guide the crane using agreed signals. This also gives the candidate further awareness of the skill as he will have to interpret the signals safely.

5. Crane Maintenance

While troubleshooting, it is important to reference the manufacturer’s manuals for specific troubleshooting procedures. For older cranes or when manufacturer’s documentation is not available, it is crucial to seek the expertise of someone with extensive knowledge of the equipment. Many problems are caused by incorrect diagnosis of equipment, and others are made worse by fixes that do not actually repair the problem. An understanding of load effects on components is important when troubleshooting problems that have occurred during a lift. Visual observation, measurements, and documentation are all critical steps in troubleshooting. A problem cannot be fixed if its effects and causes are not understood, and it may repeat itself if the action taken to fix it is not documented and reviewed.

Lubrication is important because proper lubrication can extend the life of crane components. Bearings, gears, wire rope, shafts, and many other components require lubrication to function properly. Poor maintenance programs often omit lubrication until it is too late, and dry bearings and gear damage occurs. Conversely, over-lubrication can also cause extensive damage. When grease is forced into a bearing cavity in large amounts it can create pressure sufficient to push out an oil seal or damage the bearing cage. Then when the bearing runs, it effectively pumps all the excess grease into the housing or onto whatever is below the bearing. This can create a hazardous condition and damage other components. Fluid levels for engines, hydraulics, and other mechanical systems are also important. All fluid levels should be checked and maintained on a regular basis. Any leaks should be fixed and the unit should be cleaned. Systems are designed to function with specific lubricants and fluids. Changing the type of oil or grease from that specified without a complete system flush and refill can cause extensive damage.

Crane maintenance is critical for the safe operation of cranes, and many accidents are caused by inadequate maintenance. Regular inspections are important because they can find small problems and fix them before they become large, costly problems. Problems such as misalignment, brinelling of bearings, out-of-tolerance gear and shaft wear, loose or missing fasteners, and other common issues. Inspection reports are a list of all the items and observations from an inspection that are recorded. It is vital to document everything discovered in an inspection and any actions taken to fix it. This provides a written history of the crane and the actions taken to repair problems. With a record of when specific items were fixed or replaced, it is easier to know when items are likely to fail and plan for their replacement before they cause a problem.

5.1. Regular Inspections

A regular inspection is an inspection that is carried out at predetermined intervals while the equipment is out of service. An inspection checklist is an invaluable tool as it ensures that no items are missed. This type of checklist includes items that need regular attention, such as lubrication or adjustment, which can be applied to a variety of machines. The inspection checklist on the following page could be used as a suitable template for a regular inspection of a mobile crane.

A written detailed preventive maintenance program should be established to ensure that all periodic maintenance tasks and regular inspections are carried out and recorded. This scheme needs to be tailored to meet the requirements of the specific machine and its operating environment. Regular inspection duties for mobile cranes can be broken down into daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual tasks.

5.2. Lubrication and Fluid Levels

Fluid levels in the engine, torque converter, transmission, and hydraulic systems are critical to the reliable operation of the crane. Always keep a good stock of the correct fluids and regularly check the levels of each system, ensuring that contaminated fluids are drained and replaced. Any leakage should be quickly investigated and repaired before it develops into a larger, more costly problem.

Correctly maintaining the lubrication of a crane is a large factor in its overall productivity. Proper lubrication can reduce the wear and tear on components, reduce power consumption, and reduce downtime for repair work. Each crane will have its own recommended lubrication chart, and it is recommended that the person responsible for maintenance of the machine follow this closely. Always use good quality recommended lubricants and do not mix different types as this can cause a detrimental effect on the components.

5.3. Troubleshooting Common Issues

A3. Excessive fuel consumption and/or black exhaust smoke. This would indicate overfuelling. Check that the air filter is not heavily blocked and inspect the condition of the injectors. With the engine running, loosen one fuel line nut at a time. If this causes the engine to run even more roughly, the injector and corresponding pump are in good order. If there is no apparent change, the injector and/or pump are faulty and need to be overhauled or replaced. Time spent: 30 minutes – 4 hours.

A2. Engine falters or stops without apparent reason. This could be ignition or fuel related. Check to see if there is moisture present in the distributor cap – generally a wipe with a dry rag will rectify the problem. If it is found that there is moisture present on regular occasions, some WD-40 sprayed into the cap will act to disperse future moisture. More serious ignition problems such as wires and coil issues will require further expert attention. If ignition components are in perfect working order, it is recommended that the condition of the fuel system be examined by a skilled professional. Time spent: 30 minutes – 4 hours.

A1. Crane will not start. This could be due to an empty fuel tank, or the manual fuel pump has not been activated. Check fuel lines for blockages and sediment and bleed the system. If this does not solve the problem, the fuel filter, injection pump, and/or injectors may need to be overhauled or replaced. Time spent: 30 minutes – 4 hours.

The following is a list of common problems that mobile crane operators encounter. It provides a guide to identifying the problem and time spent rectifying the issue.

6. Crane Communication

The most common method is hand signals; these are best used over short distances and when the signal person can be easily seen i.e. not below the operator’s line of vision. Hand signals are best used for precision work, particularly in the final stages of the lift. This method requires the signal person to have a good understanding of the lift and have clear and decisive signals. These signals must be acknowledged by the operator at every stage to ensure that both parties are reading from the same page. A good signal person can substantially increase productivity by reducing the time to reposition loads or correct mistakes, as well as greatly increased safety by ensuring the lift is performed as intended. High risk and precision lifts may warrant a practice run, particularly if several cranes are lifting a single load.

The constant flow of information between the crane operator and the personnel on the ground is critical for not just the safe operation of the crane, but also the safety of the personnel in the vicinity of the load. There are many different ways such as hand signals, radio communication and signaling devices, all of which are effective and easy to employ. It is important to note that the standard hand signals for crane operation can be found in ISO 2026 (1974) and ISO 2376 (1972). In the interest of safety, only standard signals should be used, and as the signal person is a key safety link in the lifting operation, he should be in clear view of the operator at all times.

6.1. Hand Signals

Hand signals are the most commonly used signals while operating cranes. The standard is specified in ISO 209-1:1980, and a good basic explanation can be found in the NCCCO mobile crane signal persons card. Familiarize yourself with these signals, and ensure that those who will be giving you signals are also familiar with them, as you may not be able to see each other, and you may be working close to the maximum working load of the crane, so it is important that you are both using the correct signals. Another point to consider on modern cranes, particularly city cranes where the operator’s cab may not have a clear view of the load, is the use of a second radio to enable better communication between the operator and the signaller. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have clear and concise communication between the operator and signaller. A good method to practice would be for the operator to close his eyes and be verbally talked through positioning the load in a specific location. This will enable the signaller to instruct the operator using references as to which direction to move. Do not be afraid to ask the operator to stop or move in a certain direction. If you attempt to correct a mistake after it has happened, it is usually too late. This method of talking through a lift is also applicable when the signaller is positioned so that he cannot see the operator. An example of this might be directing a crane on top of a building from the floor below.

6.2. Radio Communication

Radio communications form an important part of the lifting team’s communication when using tower and mobile cranes. All personnel involved in the lift, including the crane operator and the personnel giving the signals, should be competent in the use of radio communications. Radio equipment should be effective and in good working order. It shall be adequately protected from damage. Frequencies and channels used shall be restricted to the work in hand and, where possible, shall avoid mutual interference with other users in the vicinity. The person responsible for coordinating the lift and the crane operator should hold a discussion before the lift to identify any standard or non-standard terms which may be used in the signaling process. This will prevent any confusion between the signals given and those understood.

6.3. Signaling Devices

B. Two-way radio – For a more complex lift or where conditions are such that the operator has limited or no visibility of the load and signaller, a two-way radio could be employed. This allows constant communication between the operator and signaller, with the signaller able to talk the operator through the lift and instantly change instruction if conditions alter. Examples of such conditions could be a confined area lift, a lift on a large construction site, or where a suspended load is being moved at some distance. The latter requires constant communication between the operator and slinger/signaller. Two-way radios are not only a viable signaling device in the above conditions but also make the standard hand signals more viable in that the signaller can now tell the operator to stop the lift if conditions change.

A. Pelican hook and wire – This is the simplest form of an additional signaling device. A length of wire is attached to the load and then taken to the signaller who is then able to give simple signals to the operator by tugging on the wire. This would generally be used for a long lift and where conditions between the operator and signaller are obstructed in some way.

Signaling devices – In certain circumstances (those demanding a long or complex lift, for instance), devices for assisting communication between the crane operator and signaller may be necessary. The type of device used depends upon the exact circumstances; however, typical examples are given below.

7. Crane Accidents and Emergency Procedures

The causes of mobile crane accidents have been shown on the HSE website. These show that most accidents happen because of lack of thorough examination before use, poor maintenance, incorrect crane selection, not using the correct lifting equipment, lack of planning, insufficient training, poor judgment, overloading, slipping or unstable ground, and contact with overhead power lines. We, therefore, encourage every incident to be reported to help remove the frequency of similar occurrences in line with HSE objectives.

Others (7.1.1 and 7.1.2 refers) Accident/incident investigations will be considered for all reported accidents involving injury to a person on operations which are common to the majority of construction/extractive industry plant and/or; whenever it is considered that significant knowledge leading to an improvement in safety regarding a particular aspect of lifting operation site plant can be obtained.

Personal injury/accident Any person suffering a lifting operation-related injury involving mobile or fixed cranes used in the construction/extractive industries or other operations site should report the incident. This report will be of use in preventing a recurrence of a similar incident by the exchange of information on relevant aspects of the incident between the C&TBG and the person concerned and, with his agreement, the results of any subsequent investigation may be notified to other CPCS registered operators.

7.1. Accident Prevention

Methods of accident prevention can be split into prospective and retrospective strategies. The prospective strategies try to prevent an accident from happening. The retrospective strategies try to prevent a recurrence of the accident or a similar type of accident in the future. Measures need to be taken to fully integrate safety from the very beginning of a lift plan. This will ensure that all documentation, resources, and personnel are prepared to execute the lift in a safe and professional manner. A job safety analysis should be conducted that evaluates the hazards of the planned lifting operation and identifies the necessary precautions to reduce the risks involved. Developing safety plans for the proposed lifting operations with the aid of a safety professional can be a very effective method of successful lift execution. The adjustment of management, by making sure top-level management understands and values the importance of safety in lifting operations, can improve safety policy. Executives, managers, and supervisors should communicate that safety and health is critical to the success of all lifting operations and is integral to being a quality, productive operating division. This can improve the commitment to safety and health to become a core value within the organization. This method can not only improve safe work practices for lifting operations but can aid in the reduction of resistance to change. Change can be through investment in safer lifting equipment, improvement of training, or professional development of safer work practices.

7.2. Emergency Response

Lowering the load in a safe, controlled manner can take a substantial amount of time. In an emergency, however, it may be necessary to jettison the load. The provision of a means to do this, and subsequent training for crane operators, could be an effective emergency measure, as discussed in the development of a load jettison system. Planned lifting operations should have a lift plan which details emergency procedures and likely rescue routes for the operator and any personnel working at height. Erection of tower cranes involves the positioning of static hooks to lift component parts. An alternative quick release mechanism for lifting these hooks in an emergency has been suggested by the industry, meaning these hooks could then be used by rescue services.

In the event of an emergency, effective communication is essential. It is necessary, therefore, to ensure that all personnel, as well as neighboring site personnel, are aware of the emergency procedures and the correct use of the emergency services. To facilitate this, prior discussion with local emergency services should take place to inform them of any possible hazards involved in an emergency evacuation or rescue from the crane. The mobile phone, a standard form of communication, is often unreliable for crane operators. The industry is currently developing a new form of small, tough, and water/dust resistant two-way radio which has the potential to significantly improve operator communication. Experimentation with a new emergency code for mobile cranes is also taking place. Standardization of the emergency code will enable all personnel involved with the lift to quickly act in an emergency situation, which could ultimately save lives.

7.3. Incident Reporting

In all cases, the incident report should take a Beneficial Cause Approach. This means that it should be a positive report and should seek to correct the causes of a problem by preventing its reoccurrence. This can be considered near the standard of care and may be asked for if an operator has to justify his actions in a court of law. An incident report example is provided in the manual. It is important for those completing the report to be given the appropriate guidance and training in order to make sure that they are able to provide the correct level of detail for all reports.

An incident report should contain information on the date and time of the incident, persons involved, a detailed description of the incident, details of any injury or damage, and the cause of the incident. Deciding to report an incident can be an ethical decision for the operator. If it is decided not to report an incident, it is important to remember that some serious incidents have specific notification requirements to the enforcing authorities. An example of this would be the lifting of a load over 75% of a crane’s safe working load. This needs to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive. In this case, a lifting operation that has gone wrong would provide details of who, what, where, and how it happened. This would be the same information required for the incident that a load has swayed, so the seriousness of some incidents must be taken into account when deciding what needs to be reported. It is important to remember that when things go wrong, it can be a variety of man and machine factors that have caused the incident.

Incident reporting is a very important aspect of the job when operating a crane. The purpose of an incident report is to record the details of any occurrence that is not consistent with the routine operation of the plant. This can include any damage to the crane, near miss, impact on the public, or a lifting incident during which the load has swayed. It is important that the operator completes an incident report as close to the event as possible to ensure that all details have been recorded accurately. The report then needs to be filed at the company premises, and a copy should be sent to the person responsible for lifting operations on the site where the incident occurred. This report can be extremely useful if the incident has caused any damage or injury, as it can be used as evidence to prove that the person operating the crane was or was not working within the scope of their duty.

8. Crane Regulations and Standards

In order to achieve full red card status in mobile crane operation, you will first need to attain the CPCS Blue Competent Operator Card. This is achieved by providing evidence of a CITB Health and Safety Test (within the last 2 years) and gaining the CPCS Theory Test (within the last 2 years). The Theory Test consists of 60 multiple-choice questions and is generated from a large resource of questions, so no two tests are exactly the same. In order to attain a red card, you must then pass a CPCS practical test within the two years of passing your theory test.

The CPCS Mobile Crane course is an external qualification for plant operators. The course lasts for 5 days, with a large proportion of the time spent gaining hands-on practical experience. Mini cranes, which are significantly less complex to operate, have a separate technical test. This test covers the maintenance of materials, pre-checks, and operation of mini cranes. This mini crane technical test is known as the V01 compact crane assessment. After gaining the sufficient practical experience and passing the technical test, you are fully prepared to take the CPCS Mobile Crane Theory Test.

8.1. CPCS Certification Requirements

A CPCS Trained Operator Card will be issued once the Theory Test has been successfully passed. The CPCS Competent Operator Card will be issued once the Practical Test has been successfully passed. Both cards are valid for a 2-year period, but further evidence of monitoring and maintenance of operating ability through operational duties and ad-hoc training may be requested by the CPCS.

It is important to note that before taking any CPCS Test, an operator will need to complete a CPCS Health & Safety Test. This can be done at a local testing centre. All above CPCS Tests can be taken at any approved CPCS Test Centre across the UK, and the candidate must have achieved each one of these tests within a 2-year period until the final CPCS Practical Test. Otherwise, the candidate will be required to retake the test that has run out.

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) in mobile crane operations are available at levels 2 and 3. Both of these qualifications will be assessed in the workplace, and the candidate will be required to build a portfolio of evidence. Once completed, this proof of competence will then be linked to the CPCS Mobile Crane Operator Card. The operator will then become eligible to take the relevant CPCS Theory Test and the CPCS Practical Test for the above categories and levels of plant.

8.2. Health and Safety Legislation

The new system replaces an earlier prescriptive system, enforced by regulation on specific health and safety issues, with a system using regulations and accompanying Approved Codes Of Practice (ACOPs) dealing with industry sectors, activities, and health and safety problems. Employers are obliged to adhere to the regulations and ACOPs which apply to them. As decreed in the new act, self-employed persons must ensure their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions. They also have similar obligations to employers. Employees are required to take reasonable care of their own safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions and to cooperate with their employers.

To achieve these aims, a new act, the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, was passed. This, supported by the regulations, aims to make further provision for securing the health, safety, and welfare of persons at work, for protecting others against risks to health or safety in connection with the activities of persons at work, and to control the keeping and use of explosive or highly flammable or dangerous substances. This is known as the “New Approach”. This legislation affects employers and self-employed persons and employees throughout Great Britain.

The aims of the new health and safety system are to: – Achieve a working environment that is safe and without risk to health for all those who work in or around it. – Prevent the occurrence of occupational accidents and ill health. – Protect staff from risks inherent in their work which could cause harm to themselves and others. – Expel time and resources currently wasted dealing with the effects of health and safety failures. – Increase small firms’ confidence in dealing with health and safety.

8.3. Industry Standards and Best Practices

The mobile crane industry has been dynamic over the past decade and has looked extensively at issues surrounding safety. The British crane rental market began taking a serious look at crane safety in the late 1990s. This was initially due to increased insurance premiums, but beyond this simple cost issue, it became apparent that a structured and safety-conscious industry would ultimately benefit all involved. Crane and Plant Hire (CPA) took a lead role in producing guidance for safe use of cranes on construction sites. This guidance was first published in 1998 (GK7) and has just been updated in 2009 to take into account new initiatives and harmonize with other industry documents. The CPA’s guidance and initiatives such as lifting operations best practices (LEOSP) aim to provide a standard for the safe use of lifting equipment. Heeding this guidance and becoming competent in its principles would be a wise move for any operator looking to attain a long and successful career in mobile crane operations.

Industry standards and best practices are continuously evolving in response to changes in technology, economics, and environmental awareness. As a professional operator, it is important to stay aware of best practices outlined in the industry in order to position your skills in the most employable way. Adapting activities to mirror best practices and standards provides a foundation for consistent skills attainment and a method to demonstrate a quality product or service. Industry standards and best practices also can affect safety, competency requirements, dispute resolution, and long-term training and development strategies. By staying abreast of best practices, you can position your credentials in a way that separates yourself from other operators and demonstrates a higher level of training and competency. This can be an important aspect when negotiating for work or seeking to advance your career.

9. Practical Training and Assessment

The instructor is required to provide feedback for incorrect methods and must ensure that the candidate is able to correct any faults and improve his performance.

Candidates are expected to use the full radius of the crane and appreciate the effect of working on varying terrain. Assessment of practical exercises is continuous and the instructor will use a scoring system to mark the candidate’s performance.

Practical exercises can take the form of guided exercises or incorporate the planning and executing of real lifting tasks. They are designed to ensure the candidate is able to correctly identify the lift requirements and implement the correct crane configuration. They also ensure that the candidate is able to determine the weights of lifts and assess the most appropriate lifting accessories.

Practical training is an important part of the course before the candidate completes the course. Accredited practical exercises are designed to ensure that the candidate has the necessary ability to operate the specific plant safely and to a high standard.

9.1. Practical Exercises

9.1.4 Lattice Boom Crawler – Area Excavation – Slew 360° both directions stopping at regular intervals for the driver to check for overhead cables/obstructions – Complete Exercises at Various Radius whilst Checking and Interpreting Rated Capacity Indicator – Place Crane in Out of Service Condition.

9.1.3 Telescopic All Duties – Area Excavation – Set Up – Slew 360° both directions stopping at regular intervals for the driver to check for overhead cables/obstructions – Complete Exercise Moving Loads up to Rated Capacity – Place Crane in Out of Service Condition.

9.1.2 Telescopic above 9 tonnes – Area Excavation – Set Up – Slew 360° both directions stopping at regular intervals for the driver to check for overhead cables/obstructions – Check and Interpret Rated Capacity Indicator – Place Crane in Out of Service Condition.

9.1.1 Telescopic below 9 tonnes – Area Excavation – Set Up – Use of Outriggers/Stabilisers – Slew 360° both directions stopping at regular intervals for the driver to check for overhead cables/obstructions – Check and Interpret Rated Capacity Indicator – Place Crane in Out of Service Condition.

Below are examples of just some of the practical exercises either available or recommended. It is important that assessment for training is undertaken and recorded and candidates are advised to use the CPCS A60 Logbook.

9.2. Skills Evaluation

The evaluation of trainee skill will culminate in the indications of readiness for the CPCS technical tests and for assessments leading to nationally recognized qualifications. Simulation exercises are representative of CPCS test simulations, which the trainee can be expected to perform to the best ability by the end of their training. If the training includes any site-based assessments, the simulation exercise may reflect the conditions of their assessment and should replicate the standard of expected performance. Static and mobile simulations are described below.

There are three methods of evaluating trainee skill: informal observation, oral and/or written questions, and practical exercises and tests. All three methods should be used to evaluate the full range of knowledge and skill while leaving the door open for trainees to ask questions or request further instruction following evaluation. Any test instruments and performance criteria (e.g., checklists or marking sheets) should have been discussed and be familiar to trainees. They must integrate the relevant learning outcomes, training content, and real work situations.

9.3. Certification Examination

Certification is the process whereby a qualified agency evaluates a credentialing program to determine whether the program is acceptable. Certification is not required for crane operators in Ontario but it is mandatory in many other areas of Canada and the United States. Once demand for certified crane operators increases, it is highly possible that certification will be mandatory in Ontario as well. It is also possible that it will become necessary for companies to employ certified crane operators in order to fulfil contractual obligations. In British Columbia, crane operators are now required to be certified by the British Columbia Association for Crane Safety, regardless of whether the operator is working in the construction industry or as a longshoreman. Requirements for certification include successful completion of a written examination and practical assessment. Re-certification is necessary every three years, and this involves another written examination along with the practical assessment. The assessment process will usually be conducted by an approved third party who does not work for the employer, all assessment results will be recorded with the Association for Crane Safety. The Association has the right to monitor and retest certified operators at any time during a period of certification. This is to ensure that operators are maintaining acceptable standards of knowledge and skill.