Norway’s crane association – Kranutleiernes Landsforening – heard a detailed explanation of ESTA’s European Crane Operators Licence project from ESTA Director Ton Klijn at its recent annual meeting held in the country’s capital, Oslo.
Following the meeting, crane association Secretary Kristian Hersløv said: “We are open to the idea of ECOL and there are obvious benefits for international companies and Europe as a whole – especially countries where standards of operators training are not so high.
“But in Norway, we feel that our operator training standards are already at least as high as ECOL’s. So going forward we need to consider how best we can work with ECOL. We will be talking about this further later in the year.”
Klijn said: “I was very grateful to our Norwegian colleagues to be given the opportunity to explain the thinking behind ECOL and how the system works in detail.
“We at ESTA remain convinced that ECOL will be a great benefit to all companies working in our industry and their clients, as well as the operators themselves.
“That is a view being backed by a steadily growing number of companies and organisations. Just this April, Denmark confirmed that it is formally recognising the European Crane Operators Licence following a series of meetings and consultations.
“As a result, any ECOL-qualified crane operator will be able to obtain a Danish crane operators’ licence on production of their ECOL status without the need for any further training or testing.
“We very much hope that our Norwegian friends will support ECOL as well in due course.”
ECOL backers also hope that a pan-European licence will enable operators to move around to find work more easily, something that will potentially help attract more young people into the industry – an issue that is concerning companies in Norway just as much as in the rest of Europe.
Ton Klijn also gave the Norwegian Crane Association an update on ESTA’s work – for example on safety, European regulations and the need to harmonize standards – which was well received.
Kristuan Hersløv continued: “Even though Norway is not a member of the European Union, we need to keep in touch with what is happening in Europe with regards to information, standards and regulations, and ESTA helps us do that.”
Hersløv said that business in the Norwegian crane rental market is good for now – but like many in Europe the association’s members fearful of clouds ahead. “Our concern is that the rising cost of construction materials will lead to projects being put on hold or cancelled.”