I read Phil Bishop’s article in the April issue of Cranes Today, “Cranes Don’t Kill”, and would like to respond. The United Crane Operators Association Ltd was formed to bring together as many experienced crane operators as is possible into one association in a bid to bring more safety practices into the industry, and to try and educate the new operators that are joining the industry.

We at the association agree entirely with Phil Bishop that cranes do not kill. It is the misuse of the crane and the lack of knowledge and experience that cause accidents. Also pressure put on operators to perform tasks as quickly as possible as time is money in the construction industry. We would also add that not enough training is given to new recruits before they are allowed on to sites without supervision.

We at the association feel Ainscough gives a decent level of training to its new recruits, but many others just seem to go through the motions, talking about training but not actually putting it into practice, by using the experienced operator to help bring the new lads along. This does not have to involve huge cost; it can be done with the minimal of out lay. You also have the satisfaction of knowing that the operators are learning on site with all types of conditions, with an experienced operator there with him if he needs advice, till he feels he is ready to go on his own.

You also have the experienced driver there to show him how to maintain his crane in the right manner as some of the new lads don’t know how to fill a grease gun. We at the association would like to think some of the leading firms in the crane industry would use the operators who are members of the association as they all have more than two years experience, and some have nearly forty, don’t let this talent go to waste.

You cannot give somebody a licence to drive these cranes, and then tell them to go and learn how to drive them. You are not allowed to do this with a car so why can you with a 100t crane? It does not make sense.

J G Batey

United Crane Operators Association

Cleator Moor