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Training, crane incidents, IR laws on agenda at CICA industry day

The CICA industry day covered a lot of issues pertinent to the crane industry.

Situated just next to Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport at Essendon Field’s Hyatt Place where the inaugural ‘Cranes in Wind’ forum was recently held, CICA’s Victorian/Tasmanian Industry Day explored a range of key issues most pertinent to the crane hire industry.

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MC’d by Johnson and Young Cranes Lift Engineer, John Humphries, the day’s proceedings began with a comprehensive speech from WorkSafe Victoria representatives, Michael Nathan and James Webster, who gave speeches regarding notable crane incident patterns and the purpose as well as common issues of SWMS respectively. At the core of Nathan’s speech around crane incident patterns was a message that inadequate planning and poor change management were leading to unsafe systems of work, thereby causing incidents such as collisions with structures and plant (most commonly with mobile and pick and carry cranes) as well as load collisions – something that Nathan said WorkSafe had observed a discernible rise in, especially with tower cranes and crawler cranes. Webster, on the other hand, discussed at length the issues commonly popping up with SWMS, such as the statements being too long and containing unnecessary risks such as swooping birds, statements being too short (E.G “forklifts are dangerous”), generic, and non-site specific, and not being accessible or practical for those using them.

The contractors panel ensued; moderated by Boom Logistics’ Nick Morris, the panel featured Duke Barac from John Holland Group, Paul Brevlin from Multiplex, Aidan Thompson from Fulton Hogan, and David Waterfield from Mirvac. The topics broached consisted of crane requirements and general usage, the expected services of crane hire companies including the diminishing role of low-cost options, the importance of involving an independent third party to review all lift plans and ensure no oversights have occurred, before it was rounded out with a technical discussion regarding how best to control risk.


Following this, CEO Brandon Hitch spoke at length about the new dogging and rigging guide available via TfNSW’s website. Soft-launched in late April as an on-site, mobile phone accessible tool, the guide contains sections fort different types of loads and calculators to help establish specific rigging configurations. As Brandon was keen to stress, despite being available only from TfNSW’s website, the dogging and rigging guide was designed to be applied nationally.

Also on the agenda for the CICA CEO was a review of the High Risk Work Licence – especially when it comes to operating cranes. Pointing out the intrinsic flaws of an operator being able to operate machines as varied as a 25-tonne pick and carry crane, a 300-tonne mobile crane, and a 600-tonne crawler crane all via the same ticket and with no demonstratable experience, Hitch said the association was moving toward a review of crane type tickets.

Furthermore, Hitch also highlighted some alarming stats derived from CICA’s Lift Supervisor Course. The course, he said, revealed that 33 per cent of riggers with tickets possessed “unconscious incompetency”: in other words, they didn’t know that they didn’t know what they were doing was wrong. Some of the most difficult concepts, he said, related to powerline spotting, no-go-zones, centre of gravity, and rigging and wire rope discard criteria.

After a brief intermission, representatives from Victoria’s Department of Transport and Planning got up on stage, discussing the August soft-launch of its HV-SAPS module that will streamline assessment results for heavy vehicle permit applications.

Finally, rounding out a day packed full of content was Holding Redlich’s Charles Power and Jane Hall to give an industrial law and safety update. Hall discussed the new ISO45004 and how it could aid with the monitoring and auditing of contractors; Power elaborated at length on some of the key IR changes coming to Australia, such as the ‘Right to Disconnect’ laws that will see an employee not needing to respond outside of work hours, and a new agreement coming into play on July 1 this year that will see union officials possessing the capacity to go on site immediately in cases of suspected underpayments and violations of Fair Work.

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