Growing client support for ECOL

ESTA’s planned European Crane Operators’ Licence  is receiving growing support from major clients who see it as a way of improving performance and safety on site

ESTA Director Ton Klijn said: “There are very good signs that client organisations are beginning to see the advantages of ECOL. Informally, we have already had strong signs of support from the wind industry and I believe there is growing interest in the oil and gas sector and engineering construction sectors as well.”

Klijn’s views were echoed by Leon Schopping, a former Shell construction manager and principle technical expert for lifting and hoisting, a role in which he got to know the issues facing ESTA members well. Today he is construction/heavy lift and transport manager for contracting giant Fluor.

Speaking in a personal capacity, he said: “Personally, I think ECOL is a fantastic idea. As an industry client, we have long struggled with the problem of judging whether a crane operator is truly qualified – and qualified to do what. 

“To create one common qualification platform – as distinct from a plethora of different and varying national qualifications – will make life for a client much easier, especially if it is at a level that gives you a certain assurance that the operator knows that they are doing.

“If crane operators are “self assured” by their employers, the crane rental company, that can be a concern. Without common standards, operators are not necessarily assured to a recognized level. 

“So a common standard such as the ECOL could raise safety standards – and that is what it is all about. We are all working towards the safest possible workplace and this could be a significant improvement.”

He added: “ESTA and its Director Ton Klijn deserve a huge amount of credit for driving this project forward. If they succeed in their aims, it will be of great benefit to the whole industry.”