Tri-State trainers to certify 95 crane operators

Tri-State has a large fleet of smaller service crane trucks like this one, which is capable of lifting up to 5 tons of capacity.

Tri-State has a large fleet of smaller service crane trucks like this one, which is capable of lifting up to 5 tons of capacity.

Up to 95 employees working in transmission maintenance, construction services and at Tri-State’s generating facilities will receive in-house training and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-mandated certification for operating the G&T’s fleet of approximately 35 boom, crane and service vehicles in 2014, according to Clint White, Ogallala, Neb.-based transmission field training specialist and coordinator of the new training program.

“The new training plan was prompted by a combination of new certification regulations that are being phased in by OSHA over the next several years and the fact that our own trainers have found the need for additional instruction on this equipment during our annual competency exercises,” said Jim Griff, transmission maintenance manager of support services.

“In putting this program together, we worked closely with Tri-State’s safety group to make sure that all aspects of our certification program are in compliance with all of the soon-to-be enacted OSHA safety regulations,” Griff noted. However, he was also quick to point out that the first priority of the program will be “to keep our crane operators and those employees working around them safe at all times.”

The certification training will be for two separate levels of lifting capacity. The first level, which will target more than two-thirds of the trainees, will be for a lifting capacity of less than 21 tons, while the second level, designed primarily for line crews and construction services personnel, will be for operating the association’s larger equipment capable of lifting up to 75 tons of capacity.

Shown is the boom of one of Tri-State’s larger crane vehicles based in Rio Rancho, N.M. This crane has a 90-foot reach and a lifting capacity of 43 tons.

Shown is the boom of one of Tri-State’s larger crane vehicles based in Rio Rancho, N.M. This crane has a 90-foot reach and a lifting capacity of 43 tons.

The program will kick off after the first of the year and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.

Training for transmission maintenance and construction services will be conducted at Tri-State’s field facilities in Sidney, Neb., Rio Rancho, N.M., and Colorado field sites in Montrose and Pueblo. Plant personnel will be trained on site at Escalante, Nucla, Craig and Rifle stations.

White said they expect to train up to 12 students at a time for three-days of 10-hour classroom sessions. The fourth day will encompass practical (operating the equipment) drills and then they will complete a series of either two or three written tests, depending on the desired certification level. The tests will be graded by an outside firm that specializes in crane instruction and curriculum.

“Most of our people who are going through this certification process are already operating this equipment as part of their jobs, so this course will serve as a refresher and hopefully boost their knowledge in safe crane operations and procedures,” White said.

In addition to White, Tri-State’s certified crane instructors and examiners who will be conducting the classes are Jerry Marrs, based in Cheyenne, Wayne Martin from headquarters, and Rodney Beason, who is based at Craig Station, will train the plant personnel.

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