The ASME P30 committee in action earlier this month in Chicago. Photo by Tudor Van Hampton
Poor planning is cited as a major factor in crane and rigging accidents. As I write in this week's ENR, the forthcoming ASME P30 standard on lift planning aims to prevent accidents and will be the first document of its kind in the industry.
However, a safe lift also requires a competent lift director, someone who can carry out the plan. As the ASME P30 committee works to draft its standard, which is due out in late 2013, testing agencies are hard at work preparing a standardized exam for lift directors.
"In a lot of people's minds, the lift director is expected to know more than a crane operator," says Joel Oliva, program manager for the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators. "The lift director has so much more responsibility."
According to Oliva, NCCCO's new test, which is expected to become available early next year, will likely be several written tests that cover crane operation, rigging and other subjects related to lifting operations. There probably will not be a practical exam, he adds.
Crane Institute of America Certification, another testing agency, also is preparing a lift director exam, says Debbie Dickinson, executive director.
Although the forthcoming P30 standard does not deal directly with lift directors, they will need to be able to read, understand and execute plans. In some cases, they will be involved in the planning process, experts say.
While crane experts say they will encourage companies to adopt new standards such as P30, such measures are not yet mandatory. However, once a new standard is adopted, not following them can still have repercussions in court.
"In many jurisdictions, the violation of those standards can be evidence of negligence," says David Johnson, a partner at SmithAmundsen in Chicago and member of the P30 committee.