Three more major crane manufacturers - Manitowoc, Tadano, and Terex - have joined Liebherr in agreeing to align their training operations with the European Crane Operator Licence (ECOL) which is being developed by the European crane and transport association ESTA.

Like Liebherr, Sarens has also applied to qualify its Belgian training facility under ECOL, and Comokra, from Belgium, plus Fagioli, from Italy, are expected to follow suit, ESTA reported. Already qualified are the Mammoet Academy in the Netherlands and EUC-Lillebælt from Denmark.

This additional manufacturer backing further boosts the operator scheme, which took another step forward in April with the inaugural meeting of ECOL Committee of Experts. The meeting took place during the Bauma exhibition in Munich, Germany, and signals the ECOL project’s transition to a new and permanent management structure. The Committee comprises nine experts who will advise and assist the ECOL management board in its role of overseeing the day-to-day running of the ECOL system. The nine members are: Fraser Cocks, BCACS, Canada; Thomas Crauwels, VZW Montage, Belgium; Kim Hvolbøl, DKF, Denmark; Erik Kroes, Mammoet; Pia Metsola, INFRA, Finland; Kim Poulsen, EUC-Lillebælt, Denmark; Norbert van Schaik, Siemens-Gamesa; Lion Verhagen, VVT, the Netherlands; Paul Zepf, VDMA, Germany.

ESTA Director Ton Klijn said, “This may seem like a bureaucratic change, but it is very important. This - and other similar developments that we will be announcing in the coming months - will place ECOL on a professional, stable and long-term footing. It will help to ensure that we build into the ECOL system the necessary expertise, transparency and accountability so that the industry at large can have faith in our work and standards.”

In addition, the April meeting saw a Memorandum of Understanding signed between ECOL and the British Columbia Association for Crane Safety in Canada. According to ESTA, the agreement will mean that ECOL card-holders in Europe will be able to work in British Columbia without taking any further tests, and vice versa, as the two bodies’ training standards are fully aligned. The two organisations hope that the agreement will eventually apply to all of Canada.

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ESTA Director Ton Klijn said the inaugural meeting of ECOL’s Committee of Experts was important to help place ECOL on a professional, stable and long-term footing

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