Institution news

60 seconds with...Sean Robinson, HSB Engineering Insurance Services

Institution News Team

Ahead of his presentation at the Institution's Cranes 2023 seminar, Sean highlights some of the ongoing issues relating to professional competency to maintain safety in lifting projects.

For further details of this year's Cranes seminar, please visit the event website.

Please could you briefly explain your role, involvement, and experience with regards to the Cranes/Lifting industry and this event?

Sean Robinson (SR): My current role is Principal Engineer for HSB Engineering Insurance Services Ltd where I offer technical support, advice and training within the lifting and handling discipline to our workforce. I also undertake thorough examinations as a competent person of complex heavy crane configurations and support in field activities. Currently I am the Chairman for Technical Committee 2, Machinery Lift and Crane for the Safety Assessment Federation (SAFed) who are the trade association for independent engineering, inspection, and certification industries. I have regular direct contact with crane clients where I offer technical support and advice about thorough examinations, engineering practice and compliance with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations and Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations.

What, in your experience, has been the biggest roadblock for the industry this year?

SR: The engineering profession is a sector which often struggles for highly skilled and competent engineers. This issue is two-fold. There is a scarcity of engineers, so the training and development of new and inexperienced engineers to confirm competence is required. With engineers in high demand, employee retention is often difficult, resulting in employers facing the challenge of loss of skill, experience and knowledge. Conversely, as equipment becomes increasingly safer by the improvement of design, more established engineers (who offer a high level of experience) require further training and development for the new and emerging technologies which are integral to the equipment. I also, occasionally encounter duty holders who do not fully understand their legal obligations and the role of the competent person and thorough examination requirements as per LOLER.

What key topics are you excited to discuss at this year's conference?

SR: I am looking forward to delivering a presentation which dispels a common myth about the inspection industry; encompasses and reiterates the importance of thorough examinations; and details the benefits this offers to the duty holder and their legal obligations.

Regarding the utilisation of INNOVATION, what would you say are the technologies or applications to watch for the future?

SR: Within the inspection industry, I feel further development will occur soon where technologies such as remote monitoring will hopefully be ‘open protocol.’ This will support thorough examinations and confirm safe continued use of the cranes and lifting equipment.

Furthermore, radio frequency identification (RFID) is now a widely offered product option. This provides a robust identification system which can be fitted to most components enabling the equipment owner to establish and maintain an accurate and detailed asset register.

Who else are you most interested in hearing from on the programme?

SR: I am looking forward to hearing from all the presenters at the Crane Safety event. It is clear that, engineered solutions for lifting operations are becoming increasingly innovative, and whilst adapting new and emerging technologies, safety is still paramount and at the core.

Why is it important for engineers to join this conference?

SR: As professional engineers, any CPD event is important to attend where knowledge can be spread amongst colleagues and peers. This drives a higher technical standard, promotes a consistent approach, influences development, and enables networking opportunities.

The Cranes 2023 seminar will take place on 26 September 2023 in London

Join us at the Institution's London Headquarters in September to understand how engineers are driving innovation across lifting operations, whilst addressing the challenges of maintaining safety and reducing the overall risk. Presentations will cover examples a wide variety of projects and industries, together with technical insights and industry best practice to reduce the risk of incidents, maintain compliance with standards and make the most of new and novel technologies.

For further details of this year's Cranes seminar, please visit the event website.


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