12hoist4u raising the Standard

Standards are all around us, even if we are not always aware of them. One example of a widely-used standard is the A4 size for sheets of paper. Standards have become such an integral part of our existence that the average individual gives little or no thought to everyday products and services and how they work. But imagine our frustration if light bulbs didn't fit into lamps, or if trains couldn't move from one country to another because the tracks were a different gauge. A standard is a document that sets out requirements for a specific item, material, component, system or service, or describes in detail a particular method or procedure.

Standards facilitate international trade by ensuring compatibility and interoperability of components, products and services. They bring benefits to businesses and consumers in terms of reducing costs, enhancing performance and improving safety.
Standards are developed and defined through a process of sharing knowledge and building consensus among technical experts nominated by interested parties and other stakeholders including businesses, consumers and environmental groups, among others.
The formal definition of a standard is a 'document, established by consensus and approved by a recognized body that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context'.
International Standards help to harmonize technical specifications of products and services making industry more efficient and breaking down barriers to international trade.
This is particularly important for open markets, where users, who are increasingly mobile, can ‘mix and match’ equipment and services, and where suppliers can benefit from economies of scale. Conformity to International Standards helps reassure the industry on topics as efficiency, environment and safety.

The power and authority of standards

Standardization is the voluntary process of developing technical specifications based on consensus among all interested parties (industry including Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), consumers, trade unions, public authorities, environmental Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) etc).
Standards are voluntary which means that there is no automatic legal obligation to apply them. However, laws and regulations may refer to standards and even make compliance with them compulsory. There are a number of levels of standards creation. The highest level International Standards is the most complex. It requires the widest level of agreement between those creating the standards. These standards have to satisfy the needs of the different groups represented, such as industrial, trade and consumer groups of all of the countries involved.

  • International Standard– a standard adopted by an international standardization organization. These international standards, which are identified by the letters ISO, are most widely recognized across the globe.
  • European Standard– a standard adopted by the European standardization body, identified by the letters EN, is used throughout the countries of the European Union.
  • National Standard– a standard adopted by a national standardization body, such as BS means the Standard is a British Standard and made available to the public.
  • Publicly available specifications are normative documents representing the consensus within a working group or industry organization, such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME, or Step Change in lifting in hoisting.
  • Private Standards are remarkably varied with respect to who they are developed by, who adopts them, the issues they address, etc. Industry best practices, like the 'OGP Lifting & hoisting safety recommended practice' and 'IMCA’s M187 Guidelines for Lifting Operations' are examples of private Standards.
  • Company Materials e.g. handbooks for use only by that company.

Standards, safe lifting and hoisting operations and competence of personnel involved

Lots of companies, industry and branch organizations and associations working in the global marketplace struggle with the same issue: reaching a higher level of safety during lifting and hoisting operations. Very few of them however, realize that some fundamental basics are available by means of publicly available Standards. The following International Standards all deal with safety of lifting and hoisting operations and competence of lifting and hoisting related personnel: 

  • ISO 9926-1:1990      Cranes -- Training of drivers -- Part 1: General
  • ISO 9926-3:2005      Cranes -- Training of drivers -- Part 3: Tower cranes
  • ISO 12480-1:1997    Cranes -- Safe use -- Part 1: General
  • ISO 15513:2000       Cranes -- Competency requirements for crane drivers (operators),
                                         slingers, signallers and assessors 
  • ISO 18878:2013       Mobile elevating work platforms -- Operator (driver) training 
  • ISO 23813:2007       Cranes -- Training of appointed persons 
  • ISO 23814:2009       Cranes -- Competency requirements for crane inspectors 
  • ISO 23853:2004       Cranes -- Training of slingers and signallers

In next Month’s newsletter we will pay attention to what is in our opinion, one of the most important Standards dealing with hoisting and lifting related safety: ISO 12480-1

That part of ISO 12480 establishes required practices for the safe use of cranes, including safe systems of work, management, planning, selection, erection and dismantling, operation and maintenance of cranes and the selection of drivers, slingers and signallers.

That Standard is fundamental to the Appointed Person or 'Person In Charge' as he is being called within the International Association of Oil & Gas producers (OGP).

Appointing a Person In Charge with the right skills and competences proves to be vital to the overall safety related to lifting and hoisting.

Overview of Standards available on 12hoist4u website

In a combined effort of several authorities in the world of lifting and hoisting, all being member of the LinkedIn group 'Lifting and Rigging', a comprehensive overview of Standards all related to lifting and hoisting is gathered.
The result is an unrivalled overview which now is available on the website of 12hoist4u and can be downloaded here for your convenience.

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