THis time next year tower crane operators in the Netherlands will not have to climb great heights to get to work.

As of 1 July 2001, all operators whose cabins are 30m or more in the air will be provided with a mechanical means of transporting them up there.

The measure has no force of law behind it but is simply the result of an agreement reached between employers’ organisations and employees’ representatives in the construction industry.

Peter Oram, chairman of British and European crane standards committees, said that the Dutch would not be able to make it law unilaterally, as other countries could appeal to the European Court that the measure represented a barrier to trade.

Hans Nijkamp, technical manager of Dutch standards organisation Aboma/Keboma, said that the draft for the to be harmonised standard Access for cranes (CEN TC147/ WG4) includes a recommendation for mechanical access to be provided on tower cranes where the climbing height is 25m or more. But with the European standard only at the drafting stage, for the Netherlands it was “not feasible at this moment in time to make it a requirement instead of a recommendation,” said Nijkamp.

He added that Keboma has already concluded its EC type examinations (compliance with annex IV of the Machine Directive) of several types of drivers’ lifts.

  In preparation for the provision of tower crane lifts in the Netherlands, Prokrania, the Swedish manufacturer of the Procab climbing cab for tower crane operators, has signed a distribution agreement for the Netherlands and Belgium with Edwin van Zitteren’s Kranenbouw company, which has so received one unit of a five unit order.