Expert Expects Sparks to Fly During ICHC Panel Discussion

An overhead crane and hoist industry stalwart has advised end users attending the Industrial Crane & Hoist Conference (ICHC) to be prepared to change the way they operate overhead lifting equipment. The event, hosted by Industrial Lift and Hoist (ILH) magazine, and co-located with ProMat, takes place on March 22, 2011, at McCormick Place South, Chicago, Ill.

Judy Mellott, president and CEO, of All Canadian Training Institute Inc. (ACTi), will sit on an ICHC panel discussing regulations and training as they relate to overhead crane operators; rigging below-the-hook; and signalpersons. The panel will dissect the revision of federal OSHA mobile crane regulations, and chart where certification and training stands with overhead crane owners and users.

Mellott has fired a warning shot to users that they must be braced for widespread change: "Nowhere in North America would an employer ever consider letting an employee operate a forklift without proper training and a current operator safety certificate.  However, when it comes to operating overhead lifting equipment, it is common consensus that this equipment is just a tool and safety training is not a requirement. In reality, overhead lifting equipment is far more dangerous when operated by an untrained person, which can lead to catastrophic accidents.  This has to change, and in the next year there are going to be some radical changes when it comes to safety training for operators of overhead lifting equipment.”

While it’s true that the Cranes & Derricks section of the OSHA regulations is primarily written for mobile and tower cranes, she predicts eventually there will be recognized minimum requirements for using overhead cranes, as there are for forklifts.  “Maybe then an employer will not consider letting a worker operate a piece of overhead lifting equipment unless they are properly trained in the use of that piece of lifting gear, as well as all rigging and applications below-the-hook," she said.

With 20 years of experience in the crane industry, Mellott believes most overhead crane and hoist end users are ready for change: "I don't think there will be a lot of kicking and screaming as this industry has been aware for some time that training would eventually become mandatory.  There will still be those who resist, but that is the nature of the business, especially now as the United States is still trying to recover from the recession."

Mellott is an active CSA committee member, assisting on the CSA B167 committee for the recently revised and published CSA B167-08 standard.  As the recognized CSA Canadian Liaison, she also participates in the ASME B30 series standards. She will be joined on the panel by Columbus McKinnon representatives Peter Cooke, a rigging specialist; and Tom Reardon, EOT crane expert.

ICHC ProMat takes place above the largest show floor of lifting and moving technology you will see anywhere in North America next year.  The most dynamic, innovative plant and facility managers' forum the lifting industry has ever put together.  End users can't afford to miss the valuable lessons that will be served up during a value-packed, one-day program.  The event is structured to promote the sharing of knowledge among industry peers. The cost to attend ICHC is just $275, including lunch, coffee breaks, and entrance to ProMat.