The use of land mobile cranes is a common activity in the oil and gas industry. Although modern lifting equipment is often fitted with safety devices and usually operated by experienced and trained operators, mechanical lifting safety incidents continue to occur.

This paper describes how an oilfield services company implemented a training program in Latin America with a special focus on enhancing lift supervisors’ ability to perform lifting observations and to intervene if necessary.

In the past, the main focus was on rigorous training for the lifting operator. However, a common finding during many incident investigations was that the lifting operator’s supervisor had not performed an intervention within the established controls. The findings showed that lack of commitment was not the main cause, but rather a lack of knowledge. It was found that in many cases the lifting equipment operator took risks that were not recognized by the supervisor.

The paper describes how the company created an intensive training program covering both theory and hands-on supervisory practice focused on supervisory competence of the lifting supervisor. It shows how the initiative has had a positive impact in four phases of the lifting operation resulting in:

  • Better inspection of the lifting equipment on site.

  • Improved planning of lifting operations.

  • More knowledgeable lifting supervisors.

  • More effective controls used during lifting operations.

The training initiative has resulted in a reduction in the number of incidents related to mechanical lifting and a dramatic increase in lifting-related observations and interventions. The paper also describes how the training certification is helping to develop better qualified mobile crane lifting supervisors and details potential next steps such as extending the initiative to the use of forklifts. the supervisor requesting the crane operator to perform a lift that was not safe, or perform an operation using lifting appliances that were worn, damaged or otherwise out of specification and not certified.

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