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Enhancing Safety and Efficiency: The CICA Crane Lift Supervisor Pilot Course

The CICA Crane Lift Supervisor Course will enhance safety and efficiency for crane operators and crane hire businesses.

Recognising the need to elevate lifting safety standards and streamline operations, CICA worked extensively with lifting experts to introduce the CICA Crane Lift Supervisor Course.

The CICA Crane Lift Supervisor Course is a proactive initiative designed to enhance the safety and efficiency of crane operations on construction sites and industrial projects. This program introduces the role of a crane lift supervisor, who acts as a dedicated overseer of  crane-related lifting activities. 

A Pilot Lift Supervisor Course (Level 1) was held in August 2023 in Sydney. The aim of the pilot course was to engage with the industry and create an opportunity for participants to provide feedback on the complexity of the course contents and the course delivery methods. Nine participants from a variety of industry sectors (including crane hirers, principal contractors, and safety regulators) attended. 

The overall feedback from the pilot course was exceptional; all the participants recommended that this course will be a complement to the safety of the crane industry. Considering the suggestions and advice received from the pilot course, CICA has made some adjustments to the format of the course content. Improvements have been made, such as increasing the use of visual examples to demonstrate how to integrate engineering calculation principles into various site lifting tasks. 

With the completion of the review process, CICA is now ready to formally launch the course in early 2024. 

The CICA Lift Supervisor Course: An Overview

Consultation with industry experts suggested that the primary responsibilities of the crane lift supervisor include:

Pre-Operational Checks: The supervisor ensures that the crane undergoes thorough pre-operational checks, including equipment inspection, load capacity assessment and safety system verification.

Risk Assessment: Before any lift, the supervisor evaluates potential risks and develops a comprehensive lift plan that accounts for variables such as weather conditions, terrain and nearby structures.

Operator Communication: The supervisor maintains constant communication with the crane operator, providing real-time guidance and adjustments as needed during the lift.

Safety Oversight: Safety protocols and regulations are strictly enforced by the crane lift supervisor. They ensure that the entire work area remains clear, personnel are properly trained and all safety measures are adhered to.

Emergency Response: In the event of unforeseen circumstances or emergencies, the crane lift supervisor is trained to respond swiftly, ensuring the safety of personnel, equipment, and the surrounding environment.

The lift supervisor course contents were developed aiming at covering all the above aspects. 

The three parts of the course are: work health and safety; leadership and frontline management; and lift supervision and transport activities. These will assist course attendees to:

 provide supervision for crane crews on crane related activities and 

 ensure that they could play an important role in assisting the relevant parties to fulfil their compliance obligations if required by the work health and safety regulations. 


Lift supervision and transport activities

To deliver the program efficiently and effectively, the Level 1- Lift and Transport portion of the program was split into two parts, an online self-learning program and a face-to-face classroom teaching program.

The online learning modules of the CICA Lift Supervisor Course focus on reviewing the knowledge and skills learnt from the High-Risk Work (HRW) Licence training, plus some basic crane-related knowledge that is useful and practical for providing guidance as a lift supervisor for crane operations. 

Although HRW training organisations follow the content set out in the regulations, they may focus on some aspects and overlook others, or some of the knowledge learnt from HRW training may not be used frequently enough for the crew member to have consolidated the skills to be competent a few years after the training. It is imperative that the lift supervisor be familiar with all aspects and provide guidance if required.

To better equip the Lift Supervisor, the online self-learning component of the CICA Lift Supervisor program includes five modules:

 Engineering principal basics;

 Sling and rigging basics;

 Different types of cranes and crane charts;

 Specific lifting operations (powerline, workbox, marine lift); and

 Transport safety

The face-to-face classroom teaching aspect incorporates three modules and a final assessment:

 Engineering principles and rigging stability;

 Crane loads and lift planning; and

 Complex lift (multi-crane/multi-hook lift, precast lift)

Work Health and Safety

The work health and safety portion of the program will be delivered via face-to-face classroom teaching sessions. Through case studies and work examples, this part will equip students with:

 A basic understanding of crane related work health and safety regulations;

 A basic understanding of crane related Australian Standards;

 Knowledge to participate in SWMS development, write and develop SWMS on site;

 Guidance on High-Risk Workshop participation;

 Skillsets to liaise with regulatory authorities; and

 Training on incident/accident response and investigation

Leadership and frontline management

Lift supervisors are leaders of the crane crew, they need to possess the necessary skills and knowledge to communicate with their team members and make informed decisions and solve problems effectively. To help the attendees achieve these, the leadership and frontline management portion of the course will be delivered via face-to-face classroom teaching sessions and covers topics such as how to:

 Communicate effectively as a workplace leader;

 Implement operational plans;

 Exercise self-awareness and behavioural management;

 Show leadership in the workplace;

 Conduct mentoring and coaching in the workplace;

 Conduct work within a compliance framework; and

 Carry out workplace assessments;

Potential Impact on the Industry

The introduction of the CICA Crane Lift Supervisor Course is poised to enhance crane operations in the construction and heavy machinery sectors. It has the potential to become a hallmark of responsible and forward-thinking construction practices, influencing regulations and guidelines.

The ideal candidate for Level 1 of the program is someone with C6 or above, an HRWL crane license and Intermediate Rigging License with at least two years of crane industry-related experience. 

As the program gains momentum and potentially becomes standard practice, it will undoubtedly set new benchmarks for operational and safety protocols, ensuring a safer and more efficient crane industry.

CICA will commence running the Lift Supervisor Course in early 2024, to register your interest head to

The CICA Crane Lift Supervisor Course will enhance safety and efficiency for crane operators and crane hire businesses.
The face-to-face classroom teaching aspect incorporates three modules and a final assessment.


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