Liebherr becomes certified ECOL training provider

2 June 2020


The training centre at Liebherr-Werk Ehingen has been awarded a certificate that officially enables it to train crane operators for the new European Crane Operators Licence (ECOL).

The certification company, Lloyd´s Register, had first checked that Liebherr could provide the required training and whether the training centre met ECOL’s high standards.

The Liebherr Training Centre is now the first certified training institute for the ECOL mobile crane operator in Germany; there are other sites in Denmark and the Netherlands. The first three mobile crane operators have since taken and passed the examination with Liebherr.

“Safety is paramount for crane operation. Not only does that require safe cranes, but also good training for crane operators. Public institutions, crane contractors and manufacturers have been providing this for many years in the form of suitable training courses. But to date, there have been no standard statutory regulations. ECOL is a major step in the right direction: an internationally recognized crane operator’s licence will increase the safety of crane operations and enable crane owners and operators to extend their activities internationally more easily,” said Liebherr.

ESTA, the European Association for Abnormal Road Transport and Mobile Cranes, took the initiative for a crane operator’s licence, which would be accepted throughout Europe, in 2013, supported by the European Materials Handling Federation (FEM) in Brussels. Working groups were formed, including crane operators, groups of specialists and manufacturers. They defined the contents of the operator’s licence and defined uniform standards not just in terms of content, but also for training methods and framework conditions.

ESTA Director Ton Klijn said: “On behalf of the ECOL Supervisory Board, we congratulate Liebherr on this result and we wish them and the training centre many successful ECOL training sessions and certified operators in the future.”

Christoph Behmüller, manager of the Liebherr Training Centre in Ehingen and chairman of the relevant working group at the FEM, is delighted with the certification: “I hope that the European Crane Operators Licence will be accepted by every country in Europe and training for it can also be provided in every country. The main point is to ensure safety when operating cranes. Despite all the technology, we must not forget about the person operating it. We all bear a great deal of responsibility, both manufacturers and contractors. Good crane operating training must be regarded as very valuable.”

The demands on the level of training for the ECOL are therefore high and are equivalent to European training level EQF 3. EQF (European Qualifications Framework) is an initiative by the European Union, to make professional qualifications and skills comparable throughout Europe. The level of training qualifications will then become more comparable and quantifiable for employers, the general public and institutions. Employees and apprentices will be able to use their qualifications in other countries.

Liebherr is offering two ECOL courses – a three-week course for mobile crane operators with at least four years of experience and a one-week course for mobile crane operators with at least eight years of experience. 

The Liebherr Training Centre in Ehingen has already taken steps to meet the challenge posed by the coronavirus pandemic. Extensive action has been taken so that courses and training sessions (including the ECOL) can still be provided.