New standard updates overhead crane safety
By Saul Chernos
By Saul Chernos
The Canadian Standards Association’s B167 standard — for overhead cranes, gantry cranes, monorails, hoists, and jib cranes — has come a long way since its inception in 1964. As a participating member on this standard, I was proud to see the new edition of CSA B167-2016 published on Nov. 14, 2016.
The main purpose of CSA B167-16 is to provide manufacturers, end-users, workers and industry with the most current safety requirements for design, fabrication, inspection, maintenance, operation and safety training for overhead traveling lifting equipment. This standard is applicable nationwide.
Provincial and territorial safety authorities have a responsibility to support and provide industry awareness of the nationally recognized CSA safety standards. Meeting the compliance requirements in B167-16 is the correct way to ensure this equipment is properly inspected, maintained and operated. There have been significant changes throughout several sections of this volume, to ensure this equipment is properly inspected, repaired, operated, maintained, and that workers as well as supervisors are suitably trained.
“Safety codes” across Canada
Current industry practice in a number of jurisdictions is to have a volunteer committee participating on the “Cranes and Related Lifting Equipment” section of the provincial/territorial “safety codes.” These committees have a responsibility to provide industry with the most current recognized safety practices for operating this type of lifting equipment. This includes all applicable national and international standards for design, engineering, manufacturing, fabrication, installations, maintenance, inspections records, logbooks, etc.
This is of critical importance as manufacturers, end-users, service companies and suppliers depend on provincial safety codes being complete and current to all applicable provincial/territorial and national safety standards. In the event of catastrophic accident fatalities, the investigating legal authorities will seek out provincial safety legislation and safety codes, to ensure everything reasonably practicable has been addressed. However if the accident involves a fatality, the investigation can be expanded to include applicable Canadian-recognized safety standards.
Companies have a responsibility to ensure they have met compliance requirements of the most current provincial and national safety standards. End users have a responsibility to meet compliance requirements of the most current revision of this CSA B167 standard, not an expired publication date, such the 1964 version of CSA B167. Nor can a safety code revision committee refuse to recognize or reference CSA B167-16 in this current revision.
In light of these responsibilities, it’s worth noting the requirements of Bill C-45, a 2004 amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada. Also known as the Westray Bill — for the 1992 Nova Scotia mine disaster that killed 26 workers — Bill C-45 added sections to the Criminal Code that open organizations and their supervisors to criminal liability. Bill C-45 also added another section that states that supervisors have “a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm” to workers under their supervision.
One could argue that such “reasonable” steps would include knowledge and adherence to the new CSA B167-2016 standard.
The following are among the significant changes in CSA B167-2016 from the previous version:
Classification and design of cranes and hoists
This includes changes in structural design, stress range, environmental considerations, crane specific design, supporting structure, mechanical requirements, fabrication, braking for trolley, bridge, and electrical requirements, testing and commissioning. There are also new requirements and guidance for selecting and purchasing a crane, to make sure users get the right equipment for the purpose.
Inspection and functional checks
This is covered under section 6.2 — Qualifications of Inspectors for periodic Inspections. Industry across Canada has been trying for several years to find a method for training and certification for overhead crane inspectors. In the new edition, those who do periodic inspections must have a trade designation (electrical, mechanical) or an equivalent qualification, and 8,000 hours of direct experience working on cranes – for example as a skilled overhead crane technician.
Maintenance and repairs
Under section 8.2 — Qualifications of maintenance personnel (service technicians) — an overhead crane service technician must be a certified journeyman electrician, millwright or equivalent trade. Anyone working on electrical systems has to meet the requirements for the relevant provincial or territorial jurisdiction (for example, a licensed electrician with the necessary crane experience). These minimum requirements may not currently be the norm across Canada, so users will need to look at the new edition and see how it applies in their facility. CSA B167-16 shows an opportunity for both these trades to be recognized and in the not-too-far future possibly certified recognized trades-persons.
Operator qualifications and training requirements
Section 9.3 — Operator training —covers theory-based training as well as practical hands-on training and evaluation. The standard requires audit verification of training material content to ensure complete and in compliance to current standards, regulations, and technologies.
The main purpose of this 2016 revision of CSA B167 is to provide industry and end-users with proper tools they can utilize to ensure their overhead travelling lifting equipment is properly inspected, maintained and repaired.
Utilizing this standard as intended could easily result in a reduction in all related costs, such as in the following examples:
• by reducing unnecessary breakdowns due to misuse and abuse of equipment;
• by greater use of properly maintained equipment by certified trades; and
• by having properly trained operators, supervisors, and health, safety and environmental protection personnel.
The final result: improved production and products delivered on time.
Over the years, there have been several conversations regarding the need to develop minimum criteria qualifications for overhead crane technicians and inspectors, as well qualifications for instructors and training material content. That created the necessary structural framework that resulted in the CSA B167-2016 standard. But that is only the first part of the challenge. In the near future, there will be need for further industry discussions on the second part — how to design the qualifications exams and audits for these newly stated requirements and future trades.
— Judy Mellott-Green
Judith Mellott-Green is president and CEO of Edmonton-based All-Canadian Training Institute Inc. and member of the Canadian Standards Association B167-2016 committee.