ECOL gets Liebherr backing

By Alex Dahm11 September 2018

Ton Klijn, ESTA director, discussing proposals for the European Crane Operator Licence (ECOL)

Ton Klijn, ESTA director, discussing proposals for the European Crane Operator Licence (ECOL)

Manufacturer Liebherr has agreed to become an approved training centre for the planned European Crane Operator Licence (ECOL). Liebherr will be certified according to the criteria of ECOL.

The move follows talks in August with the European crane and transport association ESTA which created and developed ECOL. The decision is a big boost for the ECOL project as it goes through its final testing before going live early in 2019.

When Liebherr is ECOL “approved”, it can train and test operators for the ECOL-licence and can use the ECOL logo. In addition, Liebherr’s respected crane operator course can be credited to the ECOL licence.

Liebherr will make some small adjustments to its current training schemes to bring them into line with ECOL’s standards. This means that a current Liebherr-certified operator will probably have to carry out some extra training to gain an ECOL certificate although, at the time of writing, the exact details were to be agreed.

ECOL will also be able to use part of Liebherr’s certified e-learning system for training and re-training purposes.

Commenting on the news, Christoph Behmüller, in the training dept at Liebherr-Werk Ehingen, said, “This project is another important step towards more safety in crane operation. After years of supporting the project by the FEM working group, it is now a great concern of ours to support and promote this project.”

The agreement means that any operator who passes the future “aligned” Liebherr training will also be eligible to receive an ECOL licence - provided the operator registers with ECOL and the organisation’s SkillRecord system where the operator’s experience is logged.

The issue of the acceptance of foreign ECOL licences by Liebherr for use in Germany will be covered by a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) as it is currently arranged with other organisations across Europe.

“This is a great vote of confidence in ECOL from one of the world’s leading manufacturers,” said Ton Klijn, ESTA director. “I am very pleased with the outcome of our talks.”

Klijn added, “This is just another example of the tremendous support that ECOL has throughout the industry, and how the project can be a major force for good – by raising standards, improving safety and making us more efficient.”

In the meantime, ESTA is repeating its call for training organisations to send in their training schemes so that they can be validated against ECOL standards.

“The idea is to compare all of the national training schemes and to identify what is needed – if anything – for them to comply with ECOL standards,” Klijn explained.

“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.”

To date, ESTA has run one ECOL “test” pilot project at Mammoet’s training centre in Rotterdam. The next pilot project is in Denmark on 17 September, to be followed by two more, in the Netherlands and Italy, before the scheme goes live early in 2019.



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