Bringing Crane and Rigging Safety Training to Life

A crane simulator rodeo will again be a popular feature of the North American Crane Bureau’s (NACB) 29th annual event, when it stages a four-day Lifting and Load Handling Training Expo in Las Vegas, 16-19 November, 2015.

NACB, a leader in crane safety training excellence, provides high level information and networking every year with environmental, health and safety (EHS) managers; plant and safety managers; risk managers; crane operators; riggers; and signal personnel among regular attendees. Many of them will again participate in the crane simulator rodeo.

L.D. Stutes, Vice President—Sales and Marketing at NACB, said: “The crane simulator rodeos are a hit with our clients. This brings not only a learning component via simulation, but an enjoyable and competitive aspect to the training event.”

NACB has seen what Stutes called “monumental growth” in crane simulators in recent years and has installed simulation technology for mobile telescopic, mobile lattice, overhead and tower cranes for applications in a variety of industries including construction, mining, manufacturing, military, energy and refineries, to name just a selection.

Stutes added: “With the ability to create and manipulate scenarios for crane operators to experience, trainers literally create an operator. With no risk, and no expanded costs to simulator operation, companies are finding that their operators are training more frequently and effectively, and have not only become more competent and effective, but also more knowledgeable and safer.”

NACB Interactive Educational Systems (IES), which has been manufacturing crane training simulators for nearly 15 years, has invested in programming and manufacturing to constantly enhance and improve the realism of simulation. Stutes said: “The operators who sit in the seats of our simulators tell us that it is about as real as it can be without being in a real crane. NACB-ies simulators are designed by crane operators, for crane operators, for true to life physics.”

“As a training company,” he continued, “The vision was to have the ability to utilize effective 24/7 hands-on operational training, allowing the trainee to not only learn how to operate in a consistent learning environment, but to also experience potentially catastrophic situations without the real risks and costs associated with using real cranes.”

The crane simulator rodeo captures the essence of the Lifting and Load Handling Training Expo, where progressive crane and lifting professionals congregate to discuss changes and developments related to ASME, ANSI, ISO and OSHA, while embracing the camaraderie that the competition and networking activity generates. Such is the ongoing popularity of the crane simulator rodeo, NACB recently introduced a sister event—the rigging rodeo—based on a similar concept.

Improved format

NACB has constantly evolved the model of its events and, last year, it implemented arguably the most significant changes to the format in nearly three decades. Attendees now benefit from smaller group learning environments with greater interaction and the integration of props and other learning tools, such as custom made, small scale working cranes to demonstrate factors such as ground bearing and also wind tunnel models to demonstrate the environmental impact on lifting equipment and loads.

Stutes said: “Our attendees have taught us that this mix keeps the event alive. The Lifting and Load Handling Training Expo allows them to listen, see, learn and teach. The desire to promote attendees to interact with each other only brings the event to a higher level. NACB doesn’t claim to know everything, but when you partner with your attendees to bring all of their life experiences to the surface, the event elevates itself.”

He continued: “Knowledge is a vital key to success. Everyone gains knowledge through life. They were either taught it by someone, or they learned the hard way—experience. The desire that we have to bring networking to the forefront during our event culminates the many life experiences into a successful learning experience. Older and younger alike, seeing and hearing things from the other, only expands our knowledge.”

This year’s event will include seminars on rigging, inspector training, load charts, lift planning, ground support and current regulations pertaining to mobile cranes, overhead cranes, hoist systems, aerial work platforms, lift trucks, and other assorted lifting equipment.

“By ensuring that we incorporate a wide range of topics, information and technology, we improve our chances of offering something of interest and important to someone,” Stutes said. “Our attendees are versed in a myriad of disciplines and can find multiple tracks to be involved with during the week.”

NACB Founder and President Ted Blanton continues to have significant involvement with ASME, ISO and OSHA—relationships developed over many years. He ensures that technical staff are as up to date as possible with what he learns and understands from his experiences.

Stutes said: “Ignorance is no excuse from the law. It is vital to NACB that people in this industry be kept informed. We wish to propagate knowledge of the industry’s best practices and regulations as much as possible. This event has allowed us a successful vehicle in which to accomplish this. Safety should be of utmost importance in this industry. The more informed and educated you are on the issues, disciplines and technology available to you, the safer and more productive everyone is.”

He concludes: “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. That has been the bedrock of this company. To do things right and for the right reason, above all else. There is no better way to show this than to have real conversations with people, and this is the perfect venue.”

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