Date of Award

2003

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Health Science Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Communications, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Jacques Oosthuizen

Second Advisor

Neil Thomas

Abstract

There are over 20,000 people certificated to operate cranes in West Australia and there are currently approximately 2000 construction cranes operating in the state of West Australia. The safe operation of these machines in the workplace is critical to safety on the job. As is often the case when machinery is involved in an accident or event, when something goes wrong there is the possibility of people being injured or for damage to occur to the machine and the surrounding infrastructure. The number of events that have been reported in the media during recent months highlights this fact. To help minimise the likelihood of accidents occurring on the work-site, it is crucial that the people responsible for the operation of these machines are fully trained in all aspects of the task. This includes the provision to these people during their training phase, of all of the relevant warning signals that not only the machines would present in the lead-up phase of an accident, but also those of the surrounding environs. The aim of this study was to try and ascertain if crane operators who were certificated prior to 1994 are involved in more crane accidents than those operators who were certificated after 1994. To help answer this question data was collected from government departmental records, committee reports, questionnaires and published literature. The SPSS statistical package (version 10) was used for the analysis of the data that was collected. Prior to 1994 a crane operator would need to gain their experience and training on-the-job under the direct supervision of a certificated operator. This training could take several months and would often involve the trainee operating many different types, makes and capacities of construction cranes. In 1994 as part of the national economic reform agenda, the delivery of crane operator training changed to a classroom-based system with minimal practical operation of a crane (as little as 2 hours). This new certification system has seen the market over the last 10 years (1994/2003) flooded with people with certificates of competency, with figures suggesting that over 14,000 people have gained certification in that period. Figures relating to this research may reveal that there could be more accidents occurring amongst the group of crane operators who were certificated prior to 1994, under the old training regime than those certificated post 1994. These figures may at first glance reveal that this could be the case, however the critical variable in relation to each group, their exposure patterns, were not able to be established. The other crucial variable that could not be measured and which has the potential to have the most profound effect on the continuation of learning, was the employers attitude to the current system of training delivery. If the employer, as the gatekeeper, takes a negative view to the current method of training delivery, then the new trainees will not be able to reinforce their training and the skill will be lost in a short time. Worksafe need to alter their "Occupational Safety and Health Regulations" (1996) reporting requirements in relation to accidents, so as to reflect the same requirements that are set down in the West Australian "Mines Safety Inspection Act" (1994) for the reporting of such events. The intention of this study was to add to the body of knowledge in the area of crane operator training in the construction and mining sectors of industry and if possible, to identify if there is a need for further research in this field.

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