Crane Industry Services company news

Crane and Rigging Inspector Training for Jobsite Supervisors – August 30 – AGC Training Center

This program is designed to help supervisors and crews working with cranes and rigging to better understand the function of machines, components and gear to keep jobs safe, prevent delays and be savvy about the lifts taking place under their watch. The course will cover:

  • Optimize productivity – Inspection Criteria, Schedule and Performance
  • Verify Capacity for the Lifts Planned
  • Indentify Gear or Components to Reject

Note:  This program does not qualify or certify participants to conduct Third Party, Annual or Post Assembly Inspections.


8/30/2017 8:00 AM – 8/30/2017 4:00 PM


AGC Georgia Training Center
1940 The Exchange
Atlanta, GA 30339 United States

To register: Email for more information or visit

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Crane Training, Inspections Take Advantage of Latest Tech Tools

Crane operation relies on constants—principles of gravity, force, and leverage have been the same since the beginning of time. But technology is reshaping crane training and offering new tools for crane operations. Drones, simulators and other tools are rapidly moving from military exercises to commercial construction applications.

If you doubt how quickly the landscape is changing, the 75,000 sq. ft. Tech Experience exhibit dedicated to new construction technologies at the 2017 ConExpo-Con/Agg show should be evidence enough. A year ago, Crane Industry Services embarked on a study with CM Labs Simulations Inc. and West Georgia Technical College to determine the value of simulators in crane training. More recently, they began assessing the use of drones for use in crane training, crane inspections, and lift planning.

Sim study update

“We are finding that 8 hours in a crane simulator is equivalent to 30-40 hours in the field. There is so much more that you can pack into a condensed training time when teaching crane operators new skills or lifting scenarios,” said Debbie Dickinson, CEO of Crane Industry Services. While the study is ongoing, the company recently launched a custom crane simulator training program for a utility company. The objectives were skill-based training, documentation of training, and measurements of skills achieved.  Simulators help to bridge the skills gap. “More seasoned employees are leaving the industry than new people are entering and we are losing a tremendous body of knowledge,” said Dickinson. “Simulators are being used by employers for strategic workforce development,” she said.

Shawn Galloway, CIS Instructor, worked with Dickinson and the utility to create a simulator training protocol, called CIS Skills Measurement Record TM.  Galloway has previous experience writing training protocols for unmanned aerial vehicle operations in the military, including drone tactical standards for the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.

Galloway is applying this experience to the development of the Skills Measurement Record for simulators in crane training. “First, we identify the most common skills needed, and the most critical skills. We build scenarios for the simulator based on that and write curriculum, evaluations, and metrics to measure performance specific to the utility company’s training needs,” he explained. While the protocol would be customized to each employer and the skill level of employees, it provides a foundation for establishing how much simulator training is needed to achieve a certain skill level.

Just as the aviation industry has standards for how much training (both simulated and real) is necessary for pilots to maintain proficiency, CIS’s long-term goal for its research with crane simulators is similar. “The industry uses simulators. CIS is working to provide valid research that is useful to employers, simulator developers, and possibly standards-writing bodies for setting guidelines,” said Dickinson.

Drones and cranes

CIS uses drone technology to literally capture the big picture. Notice the small orange cone in the lower right corner? From that point it is 20 feet to a power line. Enough said.

In congested areas were laying the boom down is impossible, the CIS inspector took a close look at the working boom.

Meanwhile, the crane training and inspection company is now exploring uses for drones as part of their services. In crane operator training, overhead video shows the boom’s route through a course. “For example, teaching an operator awareness of powerlines and how to maintain control of the boom and load while maintaining proper distances is difficult to judge at ground level. By using a drone to video the activity from above, it’s much easier to see how close the crane came to the required perimeter,” said Cliff Dickinson, President of CIS, who is a licensed pilot.

In work environments, drones can be used to assist with post-assembly crane inspections. “These typically take place in congested environments, where it’s not possible to lay a boom down,” said Cliff Dickinson. A drone helps an inspector see the condition of components, wire rope, or the reeving over the sheaves on the boom tip.

Drones may also be useful in lift planning to double check the crane configuration and expected load travel route. Conditions on a job site change frequently. While the lift may have been pre-planned and even simulated in software applications, a drone can be flown in the expected crane or load travel pattern to make sure there are not unanticipated obstacles. “It’s a real-time comparison with a lift plan to confirm access/egress,” said Debbie Dickinson.

CIS’s endeavors mirror the shift in construction education. A new course at Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Building Construction is teaching students how to apply a variety of technologies to construction tasks. In April 2017, Equipment World reported that the course, CONECTech, is teaching “how to integrate technology into the workflow and how to use it in a way that is functional on a jobsite.”

“When we teach students about technology, it changes so quickly we try not to focus on the gadgets so much, but on the application of the data that they extract,” said Javier Irizarry, director of CONECTech.

“It’s always important that the students understand the goals of the jobsite and its managers first and foremost.”

CIS is in talks with Georgia Tech to collaborate on developing simulator training protocols and drone applications for the crane and rigging industry. Both Irizarry and Debbie Dickinson serve on the AGC Georgia Safety Forum and plan to reach out to AGC Georgia members for participation in future research projects.

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Does your organization need to muck out the llama dung?

By Debbie Dickinson

Randy Bakel, Executive Director of the Southeastern Construction Owners & Associates Roundtable (SCOAR), recently shared a story that reminded me of the importance of performing safety and productivity audits. During the Feb. 2 Program Meeting, held in Orlando, Fla., Bakel shared this story about outdated military specifications.

In the early 1940s, so the story goes, The U.S. Army wanted a dependable supply of llama dung, as required for treating the leather used in airplane seats. Submarine attacks made shipping from South America unreliable, so the Army attempted to establish a herd of llamas in New Jersey. Only after the attempt failed did anyone question the specification.

Subsequent research revealed that the U.S. Army had copied British Army specs dating back to Great Britain’s colonial expansion. The original specification applied to saddle leather needed by the Calvary. Apparently the leather smell made untrained horses skittish. Treating the saddle leather with llama dung imparted an odor that calmed the horses. The treatment, therefore, became part of the specification for the leather, which remained unchanged for a century.

Safety and productivity audits help companies work safer and smarter by identifying gaps in skills and knowledge. The tendency is to keep doing what we always do. Audits provide managers with an opportunity to step back and assess potential improvements. While, engineers may need to question the rationale behind specifications, safety managers, supervisors, and trainers, may need to make sure training is not just compliance based. Crane Industry Services designs audits to help employers develop industry best practices that result in selecting workers with the right skills for industry specific job tasks.

“Sometimes we get so good at solving problems that we forget to ask if the problem has been posed correctly. On your next project, make sure you know the reasoning behind the specs. If the reason given is ‘That’s the way we’ve always done it,’ watch out for llama dung,” said Bakel.

The next SCOAR meeting is May 8-10, 2017 in Longboat Key, Fla.

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Sometimes Safety is Best Achieved by Somebody’s Daughter

By Debbie Dickinson

Between Thanksgiving and the New Year, there are opportunities to stop and reflect on what is important to us an individuals, as project and team leaders, and as companies. Crane Industry Services is thankful for the people we’ve worked with this past year, who share the common goal of keeping America’s workforce safe.

While we hope we are an integral part of your training and inspection plans, the hard work of implementing safety and health programs inside your organizations falls on your shoulders. To inspire you in 2017, we’d like to share a few stories and resources.


Handy Dan by Angela. Credit: Safety + Health magazine.

The Campbell Institute of the National Safety Council honors organizations that sustain excellence in health and safety activities. Richard Cerenzio is Corporate HSE director at ISN, a member of the Campbell Institute. He recently posted a story about how a poster contest open to worker’s families was successful at engaging workers to reduce injuries. Thanks to some creative thinking and a 14-year-old girl’s poster of Handy Dan the purple octopus, hand-related recordable injuries dropped by more than half.

During your downtime this holiday season you might want to read OSHA’s new Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs in Construction. Perhaps not as engaging as the story about Handy Dan, but equally worthwhile. This new document is a complement to recommended practices for employers in general industry.

The recommendations may be particularly helpful to small- and medium-sized contractors who lack safety and health specialists on staff. Contractors can create a safety and health program using a number of simple steps that include: training workers on how to identify and control hazards; inspecting the jobsite with workers to identify problems with equipment and materials; osha-shcand developing responses to possible emergency scenarios in advance.

As we look to the future, our promise to you is that crane and rigging training programs provided by CIS will never be one size fits all. We seek to partner with you to provide hands-on, job relevant instruction with the priority on doing jobs right, without exception. Thank you for blessing us in 2016. We look forward to supporting your safety and health goals.

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National Safety Month Reminders for Workers, Leaders in Construction

Courtesy: National Safety Council

Courtesy: National Safety Council

Crane Industry Services joins with National Safety Council in promoting National Safety Month during June 2016. Observed annually, the focus is different for workers and managers, who face equally important, but unique safety challenges. According to NSC, when leaders and employees are engaged in safety awareness, companies experience lower injury and illness rates.

Organizations with high employee engagement outperform those with less-engaged employees in operating income, net income growth, and earnings per share. “By identifying gaps in skills and knowledge, safety and productivity audits can help employees work safer and smarter,” says Debbie Dickinson, CEO of Crane Industry Services. NSC notes that among the immediate benefits are improved worker morale, increased productivity, and reduced costs. In addition, much as $6 return is possible on every $1 invested in safety.

Construction is one of the Top 5 occupations with the largest number of workplace injuries. (See infographic: Workplace Injuries by the Numbers.) In construction environments, employees in the field must remain situationally aware at all times, whether your task is rigging, signaling a crane operator, or lifting a load. Awareness of pinch points, overhead obstructions or energized power lines, and other workers in the vicinity of the lift are just some of the potential hazards you face. “It’s important that construction and engineering teams work together to identify hazards, select the right crane and gear for the lift, and establish lift plan communication protocol,” says Cliff Dickinson, President of CIS and the company’s lead lift planning consultant.

Back at the office, crane and rigging supervisors and safety managers may face other challenges, like justifying the return on investment for training or the purchase of safety equipment.

Useful tips and reminders

The following resources are just a few made available recently that provide useful tips and reminders for construction workers in the field, as well as managers directing safety programs.

Avoiding Heat Stroke In 2013, 372 people died in the U.S. from exposure to excessive heat, according to Injury Facts 2016. Heat-related illness can escalate rapidly. Do you know the signs and what to do if you experience symptoms?

Equipment Safety Reference Guide The Association of Equipment Manufacturers reminds operators that before operating any machinery, to always refer to the operating manual and to know the rules for safe use and maintenance. Do you know the common signal words and symbols used in crane manuals?

10 Most Damaged Rigging Products When every day rigging products get damaged, the cause is often improper use or maintenance. Lifting Gear Hire’s Corporate Trainer Patrick Clark shares tips on protecting (and properly using) hooks, spreader beams, slings and more.

Supervisors and Safety Managers are often faced with justifying safety investments. NSC provides three free safety measurement tools: Safety System Assessment, Employee Safety Perception Survey, and Incident Rate Calculator. Each tool can provide you with valuable data to set priorities for improving workplace practices.