Stop the Zealots
August 7, 2006
Mr. Leigh Sparrow
Cranes & Access
PO Box 6998
This letter is to add my comments to your very insightful editorial comments regarding aerial lift and crane safety in today’s workplace. You and I have been involved in the crane and access industries for many years, and have witnessed many changes; clearly some changes have been very positive for the industry and sadly some changes that have missed the mark and impeded progress.
As a manufacturer, we are continually working to improve our products that provide the user easy operation method, simple daily, weekly, monthly and annual maintenance procedures along with meeting applicable global standards. Europe has it standards, the USA has ANSI design requirements, Canada has CSA regulations, Australia has a rather unique 10 year regulation, Japan also has unique regulations, etc. etc.
My responsibilities take me to many different countries and regions throughout the world, working with distributors and on occasion, directly with rental companies. When it comes to safety, we cannot legislate the individual operator’s awareness, nor can we design a product that has common sense, never allows the machine to enter an unsafe situation and then takes over all functions.
People need the proper training and an understanding of what the machine operational capabilities are.
Every major access manufacturer is aware of the European platform load sensing requirements and the continual service and calibration issues that it has placed upon the rental companies and manufacturers.
Is operational safety in Europe better today? Have we improved and enhanced the work ability for access products to be more functional, user friendly, operationally safer more cost effective to rent or sell? Does the 10 year rule in Australia provide the users a better access work device than that which is rented in America or Canada for example?
The UK has a great organization in IPAF, but is it truly a functional group that not only provides training (at a cost) but a group that works to improve the industry? What happened to the rental companies delivering a serviced product and providing the training the operators require?
All the training, machine placards, operational manuals, videos, aids, can never take the place of the operators using common sense whether it is cranes or access platforms.
I feel it would behoove your publications and others within our industry to continually monitor all the legal craziness globally and work with your industry readership to enlighten and expose the “misguided regulators (bureaucrats) and Zealots” that simply add restrictions, and unbeneficial unit costs to products that are truly unnecessary.
Common sense in our industry along with proper instructional guidance is key.
We, here at Snorkel International, focus all our efforts in providing top quality access products designed for safe operation with low maintenance (life cycle ownership) to the rental industry worldwide. Unit number one, built in 1977 still operates everyday here at the factory.
I applaud your stand and candor on this very sensitive topic that affects the global crane and access industry. We need more companies and individuals to follow your course.
Executive Vice President & C.O.O.