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Association membership – a good choice

Association membership - a good choice

Ahead of Crane Association of New Zealand’s (CANZ) annual conference in July, chief executive Rod Auton discusses the work that CANZ has undertaken to date and its ongoing efforts into the future. 

The Power Crane Association of New Zealand Incorporated was formed in February 1975 to meet the growing needs of the crane sector within the construction industry. Changes to the business and the work environment were being imposed on the industry by government with very little consultation. Representatives from 32 crane hire companies from throughout New Zealand met at the White Heron Lodge in Wellington. Issues of the time included:

  • the types of licences required to operate cranes;
  • crane hire rates and conditions of hire;
  • crane safety and operator training;
  • Road User Charges;
  • duty on importation of fully built cranes;
  • overweight permits;
  • handling of pre-cast concrete units;
  • oversize tyres and tyre importation;
  • wire rope suitability and importation;
  • PECPR regulations;
  • ACC levies;
  • codes of practice;
  • crane hand signals;
  • bridge supervision;
  • quality management;
  • crane insurance scheme;
  • vehicle dimensions; and
  • terms of conditions of hire.

Many of these issues are still with us albeit in a different format or with a different agency. In 2006, the members of the Power Crane Association of New Zealand Incorporated voted to change the name of the association to the Crane Association of New Zealand Incorporated. This change came about because of the increasingly diverse range of cranes that were now available and also the different types of contracts that had come into force to meet the changing face of modern construction.

Today, the association has approximately 85% of the mobile crane sector as members as well as a growing segment of the gantry crane (manufacturing and fabrication industries), and the road transport truck loader cranes (building and construction industries). 

The regulatory environment 

Since the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSAW), Worksafe has been progressing through a process to update the Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995 and the Health and Safety in Employment (Pressure Equipment, Cranes and Passenger Ropeways) Regulations (PECPR) 1999. This process is ongoing and the first stage of updating the 1995 Regulations has started and will be completed by September 2019. The PECPR will then be amended or revoked/incorporated into the updated Regulation. 

Good Practice Guidelines (GPG) appears to be the direction that Worksafe is taking, as opposed to ACOPs, as this will give them more flexibility to adapt and change as advances in technology speed up. 

We will continue to consult on these changes and members are able to contribute through the association to ensure that their particular needs are being met.

The mission

Over the past decade, CANZ has focused on three core elements: health and safety; crane operator and dogman training; and professional standards. Our mission statement is, ‘A safe and sustainable crane industry providing service to our community.’

Health and safety

‘Safety must have priority’ is one of the association’s taglines. 

Health and safety has been one of those issues where compliance has been rigidly enforced because individuals within all industries tend to shortcut safety in favour of improving the bottom line. This has come at a cost to all industries and never more so than with the advent of the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 2015. 

The Crane Association has empowered its members to show leadership in health and safety by demonstrating its commitment to ensuring that crane operators go home to their families after work each day.

Through a number of initiatives, information that supports best practice and zero harm were developed and are now available to all industries through the Crane Training Shop (, which offers items such as safety posters, warning stickers, Crane Safety Manual, and various guidelines, to name a few. Members receive a discount on shop products. 

There is another initiative, a knowledge repository website, where information has been accumulated by the association and is available for Crane Owners, Users, Operators, and Dogmen/Riggers ( 

Crane operator and dogman training

In the crane sector, 99% of incidents occur through human error. This reinforces the role of training and competency in the industry. Currently, the unit standard or its equivalent is the minimum standard for training according to Part 4 of the Approved Code of Practice for Cranes and a full qualification (New Zealand Certificate in Crane Operations Level 4) is the recommended standard for crane operators. The New Zealand Certificate for Dogman is the recommended standard for dogman/riggers. Evidence has shown that fully qualified employees are less likely to have a workplace incident.  

Recent changes to the qualifications has seen the introduction of new health and safety unit standards, an increased awareness of work site hazards and risk management, and the adoption of the Crane Safety Manual as best practice.

Professional standards

Professional standards are the culmination of best practice in trade and business, training to the highest level, and taking advantage of the advances in technology that are now available. It is also a mindset of personal standards and achievement and as an association, we endeavour to ensure that our members display this mindset. You will note our logo has the tagline “for lifting professionals”. 

CANZ continues to push the standards of normality to achieve the exemplary.

In the past four years, the association has moved from a spreadsheet-based entity to a cloud-based organisation that is proactive and forward thinking. It works closely with the regulatory agencies, industry training organisations, and the construction sector to ensure that our members can focus on their business growth knowing that the industry environment they are in is working to their best advantage.  

Is association membership a good choice? Our members think so!

Moving on up 

This year’s CANZ conference will be held from July 18 to 20 at the Grand Millennium Hotel in Auckland. With the theme ‘Moving on up’, the association has developed a program focused on technology and, as with previous years, a pool of the who’s who in industry has been invited to share their insights with attendees (more on pages 36-37). 

The conference is also the perfect opportunity to network with your peers, speak to manufacturers and distributors, and of course, champion the good work the sector has done over the year. To that end, three awards will be presented at the event. 

The first is the Weighload Trophy, which will be presented to a person who has made a worthwhile contribution to the crane industry or has performed a heroic action involving his work as a crane operator or showed exceptional expertise in his/her crane work in a difficult situation.

CANZ will also be handing out the Project and the Lift of the Year Awards, this year sponsored by New Zealand finance company, UDC. 

The winners will be acknowledged for their unique, complex or novel types of lifts and will join the ranks of Smith Cranes and Construction Ltd and McIntosh Cranes which won last year’s Project of the Year and Lift of the Year respectively. 

The winners will be announced and celebrated on day three of the event (Friday, July 20) at the Gala Awards Night Dinner, sponsored by Skills, a New Zealand industry training organisation. The company will also be presenting its Skills Training Awards. 

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