The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) issued a statement welcoming the FEN position paper against cranes used for lifting people. Issued by the European FEM Product Group for Cranes and Lifting Equipment, the statement emphasizes that cranes should not be used for lifting people, except in exceptional circumstances.
FEM (Fédération Européenne de la Manutention) is the European manufacturers’ association for material handling equipment. In its position paper dated May 16th, the product group states that: “Mobile cranes shall never be used for entertainment purposes, e.g. lifting of persons for shows, bungee jumping, dinner-in-the-sky or lifting of other structures with people on the structure or underneath (e.g. lifting of tents)! Mobile cranes are not intended to lift persons; they may be used to suspend personnel in man baskets only in unique work situations when it is the least hazardous way to do the job.”
The position paper echoes an earlier statement from the US-based AEM Power Crane and Shovel Association (PCSA), which states that: “Cranes are not designed, manufactured, or intended to handle personnel for either construction work or recreational activities. They are designed to lift objects, not people.”
According to IPAF, these statements come in response to a potentially dangerous trend where some entrepreneurs have used cranes to lift people to great heights for recreational purposes, such as dinner-in-the-sky and bungee jumping. Several crane manufacturers, including Manitowoc and Liebherr clearly prohibit such usage of equipment, as stated in their respective crane operator manuals.
“Purpose-built powered access equipment is an infinitely safer and more precise method of providing access to carry out temporary work at height,” said IPAF CEO Tim Whiteman, of the clarification from FEM. “Compare this with a basket suspended from a single crane rope which may well blow around in the wind. As these manufacturers have made clear, cranes should be used for lifting loads, not people.”