Road access: an industry wide issue

A recent survey of CICA members in New South Wales confirmed there is still some confusion regarding the Return of Delegations project.

Cooler mornings and shorter evenings are here, which means that getting out of bed is a bit harder and the daylight hours are limited.  CICA’s Victorian/Tasmanian liaison officer, John Humphries, recently wrote a safety bulletin highlighting some practical ways to manage working at night or during suboptimal lighting conditions. The safety bulletins that John writes, are a fantastic resource for toolbox talks and can be downloaded from the Vic/Tas State page on the CICA website. I would encourage you, if you don’t already do so, to look at them or to get in touch with John to be added to the mailing list.

The last edition of Cranes and Lifting touched on the Return of Delegations project currently being undertaken by National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NVHR) and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS). The NHVR will soon coordinate road access applications from start to finish, liaising directly with industry and road managers to manage applications and issue permits. While the NHVR have been assisted in the past by state and local governments in processing some applications, all access permit delegations and processing is currently being transferred (“returned”) back to the body.

While all change can be daunting, the reason the National Operational Strategy and Policy Advisory Group within NHVR has endorsed this, is to overcome obstacles such as inconsistency between local governments and to reduce the red tape burden. The NHVR portal is a an efficient process that will modernise road access applications, but as is always the case with everything new, a commitment to overcome the learning curve is required.

In April, CICA sent our New South Wales members a survey in reference to the Return of Delegations Project, to gain an understanding of how much was known about the project and how our membership would be impacted by the project plans.

Some of the outcomes of the survey are listed below:

We had a 63 per cent response rate Of those who responded, 59 per cent were not aware of the coming changes

73 per cent of companies who responded had not applied for a permit through the NHVR portal

76 per cent of respondents stated that they required additional training

62 per cent of crane companies opted for face to face or video streaming training

84 per cent of crane owners wanted to know more about the changes

Some of the concerns, owners identified:

– How easy will the system be to use?

– Am I able to get to emergency jobs quickly?

– How long will it take to process permit applications?

– Lack of knowledge possessed by local governments about cranes

– Whether the duration of permit is too short?

– The cost and administrative burden of permit applications

– Lack of harmonisation (different rules in different states)

– Some road managers have a limited understanding of load sharing suspension

CICA, together with NHVR and RMS are working hard to manage this process and provide opportunities to crane owners, road managers and local governments to familiarise themselves with what the changes mean and how things will be done moving forward.  CICA will be holding a local government information day in June to work towards approvals for permit-free road travel.

It is of no use, burying one’s head in the sand and pretending that this is all going away, so I urge all crane owners to get involved with the training being offered. There are numerous online, and face-to-face opportunities being offered by the NHVR and at CICA NSW branch meetings, but these organisations can only do so much. Ultimately, a large proportion of responsibility lays with us crane owners.  The CICA NSW state page on the CICA website has links to training sessions and information. Damien Hense, the CICA Road Safety liaison officer, is also willing to answer your questions, so get in touch.

Another exciting initiative is the research being done by The Centre for Work Health and Safety, Safework NSW who recently conducted expert discussion groups in Parramatta and Sydney, to discuss matters impacting crane safety. The discussion groups were facilitated by Ron Wakefield and James Harley from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), who have partnered with the Centre for WHS on this project. The shared knowledge gained from lived experience is imperative for identifying and addressing safety gaps, so thank you to everyone who gave their time to contribute to this.

The overall aim of the project is to gain a better understanding of the causes of crane-related incidents and the strategies, programs and approaches that have been successfully implemented to prevent them. This project is ongoing, so you may be approached to contribute to this discussion in the future. Consultation around safety issues pertaining to cranes is an area that CICA is continually involved, and encouraging involvement, in. Your input is essential in helping us build a safer future working with cranes.

I’m encouraged to hear about how CICA branches are engaging with and for their members. Hearing what others are doing leads to a cross-pollination of ideas, which has always been a hallmark of CICA, and the type of culture we want to promote. Our forebears were exceptional thought leaders, and in this edition we honour another Life Member, John Gillespie, who is still serving CICA today.  We also pay our respects to Hugh Morris, a man of action, a trail blazer and selfless contributor to our industry.

During the QLD Regional Meeting, CICA QLD were commended for their recently developed Outrigger app. This app is freely available for users to estimate the required bog mat or timber area for a given crane and load combination. The tool estimates the peak outrigger pressure using the formula in the Qld Mobile Crane Code of Practice, which was originally found in the Rigging Handbook in the 1990s.  Results from the calculator can be emailed or SMSed to site or back to the office for record keeping.

CICA SA are planning an awesome family fun day for August to raise money for Make-a-Wish foundation. Their Cranes for a Cause event will be held at Morphetville Racecourse, with eight cranes, a simulator as well as other attractions. It will be an exceptional opportunity for members of the community to learn more about, and rub shoulders with, the crane industry, while supporting such a worthwhile cause.

You’ll read in this edition how the Tasmanian Bridge Assessment Tool, with the assistance of CICA Members, Chris and Cathy Koldjzie and CICA Vic/Tas liaison officer, John Humphries, has been developed and how this tool is working toward negating permits altogether.

CICA is always looking for ways to achieve better outcomes for you, your employees and businesses, so please take every opportunity on offer to attend meetings and be engaged. Planning is underway for the Conference and if you haven’t already registered or booked a booth, get in touch with Tracey Watson.  The “Lift of the Year Awards”, sponsored by Cranes and Lifting, are another way to get involved and showcase the work you do. It’s an opportunity to benchmark your efforts with others in the industry and be recognised. I am looking forward to catching up with many of you in the Hunter Valley.

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