The European Crane and Heavy Haulage Association ESTA and the British Columbia Association for Crane Safety (BCACS) have signed a mutual recognition
Agreement on recognition and acceptance of mutual crane operator certifications.
British Columbia Crane Safety was founded in 2006 and had already stated that it would accept the ECOL license. It has a long history of mutual recognition and already recognizes crane operator certifications from all other Canadian provinces, the USA, Ireland and the UK. The ECOL license is still very new as only a few training centers offer it and the number of operators barely keeps it in double digits.
ESTA Director Ton Klijn said: “This shows the growing international interest in ECOL. Agreements like these will improve crane operator training on a worldwide basis. ECOL can improve both security and employment flexibility, and enable good operators to work wherever they are needed – a significant plus, especially for the large international operations companies. “
BCACS General Manager Fraser Cocks added, “This is truly a landmark agreement that shows our mutual commitment to the highest standards of safety for professional crane operators. Through our partnership we have created a world class quality certification system for crane operators and this work is just the beginning. We look forward to deepening our relationship with ECOL while taking advantage of this MRA for the rest of Canada. “
ESTA / ECOL has already accepted the mutual recognition of the Dutch crane operator license and hopes to add more in the near future.
It is a bit strange that prior to the launch there were no more mutual recognition agreements with some other European companies. We already know of a number of very experienced crane operators who have expressed an interest in an ECOL but have given up after breaking a block unless they are fluent in Dutch or German.
The ECOL website states that people with more than eight years of experience in crane operations must complete a one-week training course – 16 hours of theory, 16 hours of practice – then take the exam and still have to report from multiple operators – with more than 10 years Experience Time experience – that was true for the Mammoet Academy in the Netherlands, only to find out they would have to take a three week course for € 6,995 while another would get five weeks and € 9,995. Everyone was told that non-Dutch courses would not start until there were enough participants for a particular language.
Liebherr Ehingen offers the one-week course for which € 3,000 (€ 2,600 plus VAT) is charged, but also recommends completing the two-week course for crane operators first.
At the same time, the number of contractors who recognize – let alone accept – ECOL certification is minimal, which makes it even less attractive to spend time and money on it.
To be fair, the idea of a European crane operator license is solid, it is urgently needed and should be pursued consistently. ECOL is still in its infancy and suffered from the arrival of the pandemic shortly before launch. Just to get to this point in the project it took a lot of perseverance and dedication from those involved in the license. However, it now takes real marketing firepower to get the word out among contractors while achieving a lot more welcome and experience from seasoned operators with a solid, secure track record who are certified – especially those who already have a widely recognized one and have reputable certification – and encourage them to invest in it.
In many ways, it requires a plan that can get the project off to a good start while loosening the “cart in front of the horse” attitude that seems to threaten the further progress of what can be really good.