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Training and examination organisations are being sought by ESTA to take part in a trial pilot project for the new European Crane Operator Licence (ECOL).

ESTA (the European association for abnormal road transport and mobile cranes) will run the pilot scheme in February 2018. It also wants to sign up would-be ECOL operators to participate in the same exercise. Candidates can be novices that have to be trained from scratch, or operators with demonstrable experience.

Commenting on the move, Ton Klijn, ESTA director, said, “We are calling on any interested parties to contact us as soon as possible. We hope that training organisations across Europe will see working with ECOL as a great business opportunity - while at the same time helping make our industry safer, more professional and more efficient.”

ESTA started work on a Europe-wide operator licence for mobile crane operators in 2013 as a way to raise standards, improve safety and ease skills shortages.

“We are making excellent progress and once everything is in place, we want to trial the system with selected groups to ensure that it is working effectively before it goes live,” Ton Klijn explained.

After a successful pilot, ESTA will then be in a position to request the European Qualifications Framework to have ECOL registered and recognised at EQF Level 2 across Europe.

Klijn stressed that ECOL does not mean experienced and qualified operators, with the necessary documentation, will need to retrain to obtain an ECOL certificate. “It is a misunderstanding that we are proposing to retrain all of Europe’s crane operators – that is simply not the case,” he said.

“Any operator that has the necessary initial education and experience and can prove it, will not have to start from scratch, but will find it straightforward to obtain an ECOL certificate.”

ESTA plans to enable every crane operator in Europe to demonstrate that they meet the minimum requirements of the industry. Similar initiatives have been established in the USA by the NCCCO and in Australia by CICA. The work of both can be taken as an example for Europe.

Each EU member state has its own rules in the field of professional competence and certification of crane operators. These rules differ from country to country and range from compulsory to optional and even to no rules at all. These differences can lead to confusion which has a negative impact on safety and also restricts the mobility of crane drivers in Europe.

For this reason ESTA has committed itself to developing a system for optimum distribution of safe and qualified crane operators within Europe in the near future.

For more information and to find out how to take part, please contact the ESTA main office in the Netherlands on: +31 [0]71 572 4705 or by e-mail on: officemanager@estaeurope.eu



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