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What is the role of a lifting coach in improving safety

What is the role of a lifting coach in improving safety

Legislation and safety regulations differ from region to region, but often important lessons can be learned and implemented to improve the effectiveness of what can sometimes be deemed box-ticking regulations. In the Gulf of Mexico and the USA more widely, API RP 2D: Operation and Maintenance of Offshore Cranes 7th Edition could see more stringent regulations come into force where lifting operations are concerned offshore.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has yet to enforce the 7th edition, but the addition of language related to lifting authorities could loom over operators in the years to come and see the introduction of internal processes and training requirements that have not previously been realised in the region.

Why is it important to get ahead of these regulatory changes?

Lifting operations are crucial in large scale industries such as on and offshore oil and gas and industrials. As these industries have grown, and as a result of new industry advancement, such as renewables, there has been a large influx of new candidates joining these sectors – bringing with them fresh ideas but also presenting challenges where safety and knowledge are concerned.

Some of the key reasons why lifting incidents occur include:

  • Complacency around operations
  • Lack of communication
  • Shortage of knowledge of lifting operations
  • A need for awareness of company guidelines and procedures

It’s more important than ever that companies begin to think about the training and consultative measures that they can put in place to improve their lifting operations.

What is the role of a lifting authority?

The lifting authority is typically responsible for implementing and reviewing lift plans and is the focal point of authority for the technical operations and technical aspects of a lift. All lifting operations should have a lift plan supported by analysis of potential hazards and risks which describes the steps to move the load from its original position to final resting place. Therefore, it’s crucial that the lifting authority has a high level of knowledge of relevant legislation and recommended practices in the region they are working in.

It is not always the case that the lifting authority will be on site to oversee the lift and that is where the need for an onsite lifting coach can add valuable insights and improvements to operational safety.

What is the role of a lifting coach?

In regions where stringent regulations are not in place, it’s commonplace that personnel may have learned on the job or undertaken training that may not be fit for purpose. It is, therefore, more likely that incidents will happen, through no real fault of the crew.

With the impending changes to regulations, companies need to think about how they empower, encourage and allow their teams to think more about the role they play in preventing lifting incidents from occurring.

Many businesses will not be introducing third party lifting authorities yet, but the role of a lifting coach could act as a preventative stepping stone to not only eliminating potential issues but in preparing for future changes.

Where a highly skilled and competent lifting coach is onsite, they are in a primed position to enact change and mitigate the risk of any future incidents. The lifting coach will review lifting plans and is there to intervene if necessary, as well as give feedback, talking the crew through the ‘whys’ and ensure that work is conducted safely, reducing the risk of incidents and potential harm to personnel.

With a direct line to the crew, the lifting coach can provide feedback and positive reinforcement of good operations, but also support the crew to do better, perform more competently and empower them to feel confident to speak up when they feel operations could be safer.

But the lifting coach can also provide detailed feedback and recommendations on company policies, competencies and performance to company management or an authorised lifting authority within the business – which can directly impact change within an organisation.

How can Sparrows Group support?

Regulations will likely get tighter in regions where they’ve commonly been more relaxed and we’re seeing an increase in companies looking to employ onsite lifting authorities or coaches while also putting in place more stringent competency matrixes to ensure that staff are better trained.

With a global network, Sparrows has the right people in the right places. Offering both ad hoc and permanent lifting authorities onsite, Sparrows is supporting businesses all over the world to guarantee that they are conducting safe lifting operations, ensuring the safety of both people and plant.

For more information about our training, onsite lifting authority or coaching services and how we can support you, please contact us today.

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