Lifting people with cranes has long been a controversial issue in the crane industry. For example, NMT Crane Hire used to offer lifts to visitors to the SED plant show, offering aerial views of the showground to raise money for industry charity The Lighthouse Club. However, the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) called in the Health & Safety Executive and had NMT's rides shut down on the grounds that - unlike its members' boom lifts and scissor lifts - cranes are not designed for this purpose.
The ruling from FEM adds significant clarity to the issue.
In a new position paper, the FEM states: “Mobile cranes shall never be used for entertainment purposes, e.g. lifting of persons for shows, bungee jumping, dinner-in-the-sky or lifting of other structures with people on the structure or underneath (e.g. lifting of tents)”.
FEM states that mobile cranes are not intended to lift persons. They may be used to hoist and suspend personnel in man baskets, but only in unique work situations when it is the least hazardous way to do the job.
Platforms specifically designed to fix to crane booms for lifting people are excluded from the FEM paper as they are covered by international standards for mobile elevated work platforms.