Leading lifting equipment experts Ranger Lifting recently launched a comprehensive online training program – the safe lifting learning hub – designed to increase safe work practices in the lifting sector. This innovative course is the first of its kind in Australia and sets a new benchmark in the industry.
The Safe Use of Lifting Equipment training program available via Ranger Lifting’s ‘Learning Hub,’ has received Accredited Training Scheme (ATS) accreditation from The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA).
Now fully established after three years in the making, the ‘Safe Use of Lifting Equipment’ training course does just what its name suggests.
It is an online program aimed at equipping participants with the confidence, knowledge and practical skills to ensure the safe operation and conduct of pre-use inspections. The course contains different modules which cover topics like Chain Slings and Components, Wire Rope, Shackles, Lifting Beams, Chain and Lever Blocks to name a few.
Ashley Thacker, general manager for Ranger Lifting, says there had been a significatn gap in the market for end-user training for some years.
“There really hasn’t been anything that teaches end users how to use lifting equipment safely. Individuals can take their Dogman and Rigger tickets, but under Australian Standards, that’s not enough to deem them competent. We’d been examining this gap in the training market, but there was never enough time to focus on it properly.”
“We took COVID-19 as the opportunity to really examine the gap and what we could do to fill it. We put a framework for what we thought a course could cover. We also realised that if it was to carry weight in the industry it needed to be underpinned by LEEA certification,” said Ashley.
For a long time, half-day and whole-day face-to-face slinging awareness courses have been available, but the content hasn’t been vetted by an industry body and a significant amount of the content is outdated. There is a Certified Course for Lifting Inspectors but in terms of the Australian Standards, there has been ambiguity around what they expect a competent person to do.
The online course caters to all end users and professionals within the lifting, rigging, and construction sectors – in fact, it is essential for anyone using lifting equipment in any industry. Upon completion, participants receive a LEEA accreditation and a certificate of completion. The accreditation and collaboration with LEEA ensures that this course and its content materials and are of the highest standard, aligning with Australian industry regulations.
“We could see the benefit of a training program which was broken into modules enabling people to learn at their own pace. We could see a crane hire company for example, putting teams through an online course by fitting in the modules around their work loads. They can spend two hours on the course and then they come back to it a week later,” said Ashley.
Ranger Lifting works with Tier One Contractors and builders doing everything to meet their compliance obligations in terms of work health and safety, to make sure their workplaces are safe workplaces and that they’re identifying risks as they go.
“Obviously, there is a requirement for a Certified Lifting Inspector to conduct periodic inspections on the equipment, but from the beginning, our concept was to teach the end user how to safely use the equipment, how to select the right piece of equipment, how to conduct pre-use inspections, how to use the equipment safely and how to maintain it correctly,” said Ashley.
“There are too many accidents happening day to day. I did my advanced rigger’s course at TAFE, and we wouldn’t have spent more than five minutes on lifting gear. Today, they spend more time on this during the Dogman’s ticket, but they’re not going to spend more than an hour and they just cover the basics. Australian standards go into so much detail around competency requirements. They actually state that the person using the piece of lifting equipment should be able to identify the standard that it relates to, I doubt you would find many people capable of doing that,” said Ashley.
LEEA has always been accredited to provide training courses for lifting and rigging equipment companies. In other countries, you don’t necessarily need to be a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). In the UK, LEEA has hundreds of Accredited Training Schemes (ATS) members which provide training on slinging and rigging and the safe use of lifting equipment.
“LEEA thoroughly examined our program, vetting every module making sure it was relevant, and that all the standards were correct. We had to submit a training needs analysis, which included the course outline, the lesson plans, which included the objectives, all the key learning points. LEEA also went through our application process for the Ranger Lifting to become an accredited training company. Minimal changes were required to the program which was very satisfying,” said Ashley.
Accredited Training Schemes (ATS) have been around for decades, it’s just that none of these training opportunities have been available in Australia, says Justin Boehm, LEEA’s Regional Manager- Australia and New Zealand.
“ATS is a mature, well-known product in the UK as well as the Middle East and Southeast Asia, but until now there has been no one locally. Ranger Lifting is a leader in our industry.
“ I’ve had a close look at the course content and it’s awesome, it really is.”
“This is a fantastic development for our region and having LEEA’s first Accredited Training Scheme partner in Ranger is excellent news for end users in our Industry,” said Justin.
“Ranger is one of the leading businesses in our industry and it is testament to their commitment to safety and their clients’ safety. This course, backed by LEEA’s high standards, will help keep job sites safe by identifying potential issues that could be missed during a pre-use inspection.
“LEEA has struggled with getting end users to understand how to complete a pre-use check, everyone says they do it, but do they really know what to look for? To have the opportunity for them to complete this course which is backed by LEEA is a massive, massive win. This is a fantastic development for our region and having LEEA’s first Accredited Training Scheme partner in Ranger is excellent news for end users in our industry,” he said.
“LEEA is there for the members of the association, and we’ve had pathways for people to do some training, but the courses are not designed to just train everyone. This program allows us to advise interested companies that they can’t come through our channels and they should consider this program which is endorsed by LEEA,” said Justin.
Ashley says that the market is ready for the Safe Use of Lifting Equipment training program.
“Because there was no gap between the Dogman ticket and a LEEA course, the larger companies were frequently asking to put their people through a LEEA course. If we allowed that to happen, the industry would fall apart, because we would have no inspection body.
“We see the Safe Use of Lifting Equipment program as a happy medium, it teaches them the basics. They get a certificate from Ranger Lifting and we log into LEEA’s system, confirm who has completed the course, and they receive a printed LEEA accredited certificate,” he said.
The program is a testament to Ranger Lifting’s pursuit and commitment to safety. It will act as a trusted and reliable resource for end-users seeking to learn how to safely use and inspect lifting equipment based on Australian Standards guidelines.
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