Construction Cranes

New test for mobile crane operators

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

An industry committee led by the Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table (Skills Table) is advancing the development of a voluntary, Canada-wide demonstration of skills test (DOST) for mobile crane operators, a key occupation serving many industries.

In a national survey, the majority of tradespeople, employers, educators and labour representatives identified a practical test as “the single most important form of assessment” for skilled trades certification. However, there is no national standardized “Demonstration of Skills Test” (DOST) for skilled trades among provinces.

The Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table (APGST), a partnership of labour, business and education/training institutions, is looking to change that. They’re leading an initiative to create a standardized test for mobile crane operators, an in-demand and key occupation to port/terminal, construction, energy and infrastructure sectors.

“We want to develop a national, mobile crane operator DOST based on existing best practices, both nationally and internationally. Ideally for jurisdictions currently using a DOST, it would be adopted and used going forward; and, for jurisdictions not currently using a DOST, when choosing to engage, our standard would be used in the introduction of their activities,” says says Lionel Railton, chair of the project committee and who is also the Canadian Director of the International Union of Operating Engineers, a labour group that has advocated for a national DOST for more than 20 years.

Several provinces in Canada offer mobile crane operator training programs that include theory testing, practical assessment through a DOST method, certification and Red Seal endorsement. However, approaches to DOSTs vary across the provinces and territories.

This initiative, if successful, has implications not just for mobile crane operators, but other trades and the Canadian economy. A national standard DOST provides for increased safety, reduced costs and red-tape, greater employer assurance in meeting liability of worker competency, and more fluid employer and worker mobility.

The committee (comprising industry employers and labour) has now published the first iteration of a working background report focused on mobile crane DOSTs and related research found both in Canada and internationally. A working group of national subject-matter experts will hold their second meeting in Toronto in March. Consultation with industry stakeholders in various provinces is set for mid-year.