Przedstawiamy aktualizację działań ESTA w ramach sekcji transportowej i dźwigowej. Podsumowanie jest w języku angielskim.
1. ESTA STORIES – SECTION CRANES
ESTA calls on clients to publicly back crane operators licence scheme
ESTA Director Ton Klijn has called on the construction industry’s major clients and contractors to give public backing to the fast-growing European Crane Operators Licence (ECOL) scheme.
Klijn said that many clients and contractors – especially thosein the energy and civil engineering sectors – have long complained to ESTA that they do not know whether the crane operators working on their sites are properly qualified for the machines they are operating – and are worried that safety might be compromised as a result.
He argued: „ECOL is making steady progress but we could move much more quickly with stronger support from the wider industry, especially from major international companies who wield great influence over their suppliers.
„For example, the big energy companies could publicly say that they expect crane operators on their sites to hold an ECOL licence or a verifiable qualification of comparable standard.
„This is a basic safety issue. Crane operator training standards vary hugely from country to country. ECOL is trying to raise the bar so that we eventually stop unqualified and dangerous operators from working equipment when they should not be doing so.
„We know that many firms are fully behind our work in this area, so now we are asking them to make their support public and to communicate that support to ECOL and their supply chains.”
Full details about ECOL are available on the website at www.ecol-esta.eu or from the free briefing document in the Library section of the ESTA website.
Tadano and Manitowoc become ECOL training centres
Crane manufacturers Tadano and Manitowoc are the latest organisations to complete the process of becoming approved European Crane Operators Licence (ECOL) training centres and are expected to start their first ECOL courses soon.
The companies’ training centres in Germany are expected to receive their ECOL Certificates shortly, after approval from Lloyds Register, the body tasked with overseeing standards.
Four ECOL training centres have already been approved – EUC Lillebælt in Denmark; Liebherr Werk Ehingen in Germany; Mammoet Academy in the Netherlands; and SarensAcademy in Belgium.
In a further development, the online examination system for ESTA’s ECOL project is now up and running in four languages – English, Dutch, Danish and German – and work is underway on a Spanish version.
Talks are also ongoing about signing Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) between ECOL and relevant organisations in Spain, Germany and the UK. So far two MRAs have been agreed, with TCVT from the Netherlands and BCACS from British Columbia, Canada.
And ECOL has also adopted a new in-company apprentice training structure which the organisation’s leaders hope will make it easier for countries with a strong tradition of apprenticeships to become directly involved in the project.
Meissner urges action on wind project safety
ESTA’s work to improve safety project planning and safety during the construction of onshore wind farms has received strong support from one of the most respected figures in the European crane industry.
Klaus Meissner is the Convenor for the European standards committee on mobile crane safety – and a member of the Supervisory Board of ECOL – the European Crane Operators Licence scheme. He spent more than 30 years with Demag Mobile Cranes, latterly as Director of Engineering Systems and Product Safety.
As the wind energy sector expands and becomes an ever-more important part of the world’s energy mix, Meissner is pressing the industry to adopt the measures and practices detailed in the Best Practice Guide for Transport and Installation of Onshore Wind WTG Systems, published by ESTA, the European Association of Abnormal Road Transport and Mobile Cranes, and the earlier FEM report Safety Issues in Wind Turbine Installation and Transportation.
Meissner said: „As the turbines get bigger, so our clients need to understand that we need bigger cranes to do the work safely. Crane manufacturers have cranes of many sizes in their portfolio and have created different boom systems for such jobs but, of course, there are cost implications. With bigger cranes the costs for job site preparation increases, they leap with every change of crane size.
„In addition, with bigger cranes the site layout and ground conditions become even more important factors and are especially significant if crane operators are expected to move the cranes in partially erected mode because of time pressures.”
„Cranes need to be moved around sites as easily, quickly and safely as possible – and that means good cooperation and communication between all of those involved in the site development from an early stage.”
Meissner warned that if all involved in the wind industry do not come together and implement improvements, national authorities will take action – which could make the current situation even worse.
„ESTA and FEM’s work is important because it sets a baseline of standards that the whole industry can adhere to.
„I believe it is essential that the European industry as a whole takes a lead to create common international standards, because if we do not, then national governments and regulatory authorities will start setting their own standards and we will face the situation of different regulations in every country, increasing fragmentation and as such finally undermining safety.”
Loader crane standards reforms proposed
Talks are continuing in Europe about whether knuckle boom/loader cranes of over 150Tm capacity should come under the EN13000 standard rather than EN12999 for safety reasons.
The discussions will be led by a new harmonization group created by Workgroups 2 and 11 of CEN TC 147, the part of the European Committee for Standardization responsible for overseeing crane standards.
Loader cranes have to date been covered by the EN12999 norm, but several European organisations have expressed safety concerns at their increasing size and have questioned whether the bigger loader crane models should be covered by EN13000 instead.
WG 11 is currently working on updates to the EN13000 norm that it expects to complete before the end of 2021.
2. ESTA STORIES – SECTION TRANSPORT
Calls for consultation on Germany’s „rail and waterways” proposal
ESTA is calling on the German transport authorities to consult Brussels and their European neighbours before acting on proposals to shift some heavy transport from the roads and onto rail and waterways.
The proposals were first mooted by a working group set up by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. The group’s final report was published at the end of last year.
Now reports from Germany suggest that the authorities are considering whether and how to act on its recommendations.
Discussions have centred on amending the VEMAGS permit system to give preference to moving heavy loads travelling more than 250 kilometres by water or rail, before allowing such loads to move by road.
The report’s authors said that such a shift would benefit the environment, reduce congestion on an already over-crowded road network and protect Germany’s bridges from additional wear and tear.
But the transport industry and its manufacturing clients are worried that without careful planning, the move will cause delays, create unnecessary bureaucracy and add significantly to costs.
ESTA Director Ton Klijn said: „At ESTA, we do not have anything against this policy in principle – but as with many such initiatives, the devil is in the detail. For example, how would this apply to cross border transports – perhaps starting in Rotterdam, crossing Germany and finishing in Switzerland?
„This is why it is essential that before any action is taken, the German authorities talk to ESTA, knowledgeable organisations such as the IRU and the relevant departments in the European Commission.”
There is also growing concern that national rule changes can be used to unfairly benefit local transport companies at the expense of those from neighbouring states. This year had already seen controversial changes to the VEMAGS permit system in Germany and new „blind spot” signage regulations for heavy transport in France.
Klijn added: „We just need to be careful that new regulations – however good they may be in theory – do not become a cover for increased protectionism, which is why transparent and Europe-wide consultation is so important.
„And, of course, we need to ensure that we do not create unworkable new levels of bureaucracy.”
ESTA concerned at introduction of ERRU register
ESTA is “extremely concerned” at the impact on the heavy and abnormal transport sector of the new sanctions register for transport violations which came into effect on April 1.
The ERRU register – the European Register of Road Transport Undertakings – contains Europe-wide records of violations of transport legislation and includes a penalty points system. If a transport operator collects too many penalty points, they risk losing their licence to operate.
Under the new system, every violation of road transport law will attract a number of penalty points. If a company’s points exceeds its limit – set according to the size of the company – it risks having its licence suspended or revoked. In addition, the legislation also applies to individual transport managers.
ESTA Director Ton Klijn said that ESTA strongly backs all measures to improve safety but added that as a result of the structure of the register and how it is enforced, the abnormal transport sector risks being disproportionately and severely punished and companies will face a much higher risk of losing their permit than other transport operators.
A detailed briefing on the ERRU register is in the Librarysection of the ESTA website.
3. ESTA STORIES – INTERNAL
ESTA’s new library – an industry resource
ESTA has created a Library section in its new website containing a series of free detailed briefing documents and reports on current subjects important to the crane and heavy transport industries.
Documents so far available for download include:
- European Crane Operators Licence; an ESTA Briefing (in English and German)
- Transport and Installation of Onshore WTG Systems; an ESTA Best Practice Guide
- Enforcement of the European Register of Road Transport Undertakings (ERRU) rules; an ESTA Briefing
- Self-Propelled Modular Transporters; an ESTA Best Practice Guide
- Leaving mobile cranes unattended in [partially] erected mode; ICSA Guidance N001
ESTA is currently working on translations of the Best Practice Guides into German, French and Spanish.
ANT Dynamics becomes affiliate member
Qatar-based ANT Dynamics is the latest company to join ESTA as an affiliate member.
Ant Dynamics provides engineering services to contractors and clients related to their lifting operations, such as the development of lifting plans and providing ground bearing pressure calculations. It also can provide transport arrangement drawings in 3D.
In addition, the company is the agents of CRANIMAX in the MENA region. CRANIMAX is a company that develops software that assists in selecting the correct crane models for carrying out specific lifts. CRANIMAX’s latest software is called CRANEbee.
Future ESTA meetings
ESTA is still planning to hold its Autumn Meeting and Dinner, in person, in Helsinki, Finland, on October 14-15 – assuming that it is permitted under the pandemic restrictions. Watch the ESTA website for updates.