The role of Appointed Person
When used correctly and with a fully trained and competent lifting team, mobile cranes are one of the safest items of construction equipment there are.
All lifting operations in the UK must comply with the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER). These regulations place a legal duty on any employing organisation to properly plan and supervise every lifting operation. Thankfully, the British Standards Institution provides a code of practice called BS7121 to help employers to understand and comply with LOLER when using mobile cranes.
When broken down into stages, the planning of a safe lifting operation, no matter how complex, can be relatively straightforward.
If you need a mobile crane, you need to determine if you have competent staff in-house to plan a safe system of work for the lift. If so, you can opt for the standard crane hire contract conditions from the CPA. Although this is the cheapest option, you assume full responsibility for safety throughout the lifting process, including all planning and supervision.
The other option is a Contract Lift. Under the terms of the CPA’s Contract Lift conditions, the mobile crane hire company prepares a safe system of work, provides all the equipment and accessories and carries out the lift with trained and competent operators.
In both cases, standard Crane Hire and Contract Lift, a single person will be appointed to take full control and total responsibility for the planned lifting operation. This person is termed the Appointed Person.
An Appointed Person must be competent, with sufficient training, technical knowledge and experience, to develop a safe system of work for lifting operations.
The Appointed Person will start by gathering essential information. They will need to visit the planned lift site and talk to those involved in order to have a complete understanding of what is required. This includes access and egress points; ground conditions; existing proximity hazards and any ongoing construction work which may develop during the lift planning phase.
Once a rough sketch of the area has been made and some detailed notes taken, the Appointed Person can start developing a Lift Plan.
Full and detailed written information regarding the load or loads must be obtained. This information will include such items as what type of load it is; it’s weight and the weight of crane accessories; its dimensions and centre of gravity; its lift points and the contents of the container (if applicable). They will also include information about the location, ground conditions and nearby collision hazards already gathered.
Next they must decide which mobile crane is right for the job in particular:
The capabilities and limitations of each crane type
The methods of work the crane can undertake
The safe working load
The dimensions and weight of the crane, in road travel and set up for work
Calculated outrigger loadings
Any restrictions or limitations of use
Whether additional safety devices will be needed
The crane supplier has a duty to provide a crane that is well maintained, certificated and fit for purpose, and the Appointed Person must undertake a visual inspection of the crane and its statutory documentation to check this is the case.
Commonly-used accessories include wire rope slings, single chain slings, bow and D-shackles, man-made fibre flat belt and round endless slings, eye bolts and multiple leg slings. Accessories must be fit for purpose and free from faults and defects.
Appointed Persons also need to give any accessory they choose a visual inspection prior to use to check for the most common faults that can occur whilst in action.
The Lift Team
The Appointed Person may in certain circumstances delegate duties to an equally competent Crane Supervisor. The Crane Supervisor’s role is similar to the Appointed Person’s but is more hands-on – they implement the Appointed Person’s instructions rather than creating them.
One of the crane supervisor’s most important roles is to simply stop the lift if:
They do not understand what is required
Unplanned changes to the lifting operation have occurred
There are doubts about the continued safety of the lift, or of staff involved
Assisting the Appointed Person and Crane Supervisor will be Crane Operators and Slinger/Signallers, responsible for the attachment and removal of lifting accessories – all these people must be competent with a recognised qualification, usually a CPCS card. To assist in this, there exists a nationally recognised certification scheme the Construction Plant Competency Scheme.
The Lift Team must be able to work together, as each is equally responsible for the safety and well-being of their teammates. The Appointed Person must bring together information and people from several areas to ensure that the lift is planned properly, supervised appropriately and carried out safely.
EB Construction Training, part of the Carter Group, provides training for anyone that would like to become an Appointed Person or any of the other roles associated with crane lifts or construction plant operation.
For more information please contact us or telephone 01395 446 446.