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CEG ConExpo Coverage

Industry's Best Crane Operators to Compete at ConExpo


Photo courtesy of Craneoperatorrodeo.com. During ConExpo-Con/AGG, March 4 to 8, 2014, Crane Institute Certification (CIC) will co-host the Crane Operator Skills Championship in booth 2975, adjacent to the Gold Lot.

Photo courtesy of Craneoperatorrodeo.com. During ConExpo-Con/AGG, March 4 to 8, 2014, Crane Institute Certification (CIC) will co-host the Crane Operator Skills Championship in booth 2975, adjacent to the Gold Lot.

During ConExpo-Con/AGG, March 4 to 8, 2014, Crane Institute Certification (CIC) will co-host the Crane Operator Skills Championship in booth 2975, adjacent to the Gold Lot. In addition, the OSHA-recognized, NCCA accredited mobile crane operator and rigger certification provider will introduce a new certification for lift directors.

The Crane Operator Skills Championship is a partnership between CIC and Maximum Capacity Media, publisher of Crane & Rigging Hot Line magazine. Other sponsors supporting the event are Liebherr, Houston International Insurance Group, Slingmax, The Crosby Group, Hirschmann, DICA Outrigger Pads and InfoChip.

The championship in Las Vegas is the culmination of eight regional competitions that took place in 2013 across the United States and in Canada, and a Las Vegas qualifier open to registered ConExpo attendees on March 4 to 5. In all, 18 crane operators will compete in the championship, to take place March 6 to 7 at the show.

The crane operator skills competitions are designed to acknowledge the special skills it takes to be a crane operator; to introduce the profession to young people; and to educate local governments and businesses about the role training, experience, and certification plays in safe crane operation.

Mike Smith, safety director of Crane Rental Corp., Orlando, Fla., said that the course challenges, which are a modification of the practical exams administered by CIC for certification, accurately demonstrate the skills an operator uses on the job at a construction site.

“It's all about the control, whether or not the hook is 250 feet away from the crane, or it's working right up close to the machine shaking out iron. It's a very hard skill to master. It's definitely a good thing to be able to come out here and show your skills,” Smith said of the Orlando regional event he attended.

At ConExpo, operators will compete on a 265-ton (240 t) Liebherr LTM 1220-5.2 all-terrain crane, featuring a 197-ft. (60 m) main boom. Liebherr is the official crane sponsor of the National Operator Skills Championship.

“CIC congratulates the operators who have qualified for the championship. Operators at this level demonstrate tremendous skill. In addition, operators prove knowledge as they assess the challenges and operate safely,” said Debbie Dickinson, executive director of CIC. “Certification provides employers with the information they need to qualify operators for hire.”

Dickinson encourages employers to move forward with certifying workers who operate cranes.

“The current OSHA deadline for operators to be certified is November 2014. If the date is extended, as has been proposed, delaying certification impacts business. Contractors, customers and insurance companies often require it to bid on projects or to obtain insurance coverage,” she explained. “However, most important, research shows that certified operators have fewer fatalities and accidents.”

The champion will receive $2,000 cash, a one-of-a-kind hand tooled Western belt buckle, a one-of-a-kind leather bomber jacket and a die-cast crane model. First runner-up will receive $1,000 cash plus an award jacket and a die-cast crane model. The second runner-up will receive $500 cash, an award jacket, and a die-cast crane model. All finalists who make it to the championship level will have bragging rights.

Operators attending ConExpo are encouraged to pre-register in advance in order to assure a spot in the qualifier competition on March 4 to 5. Time slots are limited.

CIC Introduces Certification for Lift Directors

In addition, CIC will introduce a new certification for lift directors at ConExpo. The designation of lift director is increasingly being identified in various standards, including ASME B30, OSHA 1926.1400, and the soon-to-be-finalized ASME P30.

The lift director designation includes much of the same knowledge, skills, and abilities required to be a rigger or advanced rigger. Additional knowledge areas include mobile crane operations, lift planning and procedural and personnel activities during load handling. The lift director certification includes prerequisite tests and a comprehensive written test specific to lift director.

For more information, visit www.craneoperatorrodeo.com.