Keeping tree care workers safe is one of the guiding principles of business at Cranes 101, according to its founder and president, Jay Sturm. “I’ve never been an arborist – we cover a number of industries here, including construction and industrial crane usage – but I have a special affinity, a real passion, for the tree care industry,” says Sturm. “I thought it needed help in the safety end of the business.”
Sturm adds, “My heart went out to the new people entering the industry, new workers as well as, say, landscapers entering the tree business. Just by hanging your shingle out, it doesn’t mean you’re prepared (to do tree work).”
Enter the three-pronged concept of Cranes 101, an 11-year TCIA corporate member company founded in 2001 and based in Bellingham, Massachusetts. As explained by Sturm, his company originally started out doing crane and heavy-equipment inspections. “About two years later, I started doing crane safety training, because more and more people were asking for it. And now the safety training has far overtaken the inspections end of it! Everything we’ve done over the years has been out of necessity, out of the desire to fill a need.”
The third prong of Sturm’s business concept has been to personally represent tree care companies by providing expert testimony in lawsuits and OSHA cases. “I’ve gotten cases dropped and, in turn, this has initiated (safety) policy changes, which is far more important to me than the dollars saved.”
ANSI Z133 involvement
Ultimately, Sturm’s involvement in crane safety training motivated his desire to begin serving as an ANSI Z133 committee member about 10 years ago. “I really wanted to do what I could to help increase safety within the tree care industry,” he says. “These people are like family, so being involved with developing safety standards is of utmost importance to me. It’s our lifeblood, really.
“Trying to write standards for an industry that is growing and changing so rapidly is very time consuming,” Sturm notes. “In the world of businesses, the tree care industry is very young, with new equipment that is evolving all the time – and safety with it. I wanted to know what was coming down the pike when it came to safety and inspection standards, because as standards evolve, it affects our inspections as well.”
Sturm also is a member of ISA and has been on the crane standards committee with ASME, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, since 2004 – though he laughs when asked if he’s a mechanical engineer. “No, I’m not an arborist and I’m not a mechanical engineer. Do you see my modus operandi here?”
“Thank you for being our instructor at MAA’s seminar yesterday on “Crane Training for Safe, Productive Tree Work.” The material you covered is critical for our members to learn. We heard a lot of great feedback about the program, and we’re grateful for your time and efforts.” – Kristen Dreyer, education manager, Massachusetts Arborists Association, Medfield, Mass.
Training in person and online
Cranes 101 offers a wide variety of online courses, as well as in-person safety training across the country. Sturm says he has traveled to every state except Hawaii to conduct trainings. And online, “We have developed our own dynamic portal that I believe puts us at the pinnacle (of online training).”
He adds that all of their courses are created and maintained by a team of industry experts and experienced educators. “This unique combination of skill sets means you get all the relevant information you need to be successful and pass your exams and get your relevant licenses, and it’s presented in a way that makes sense and helps you remember it.”
A new, cutting-edge tool
Sturm admittedly is excited about a new, innovative tool at Cranes 101. “One very cool item we are about to release in our portal is our QR-code program,” he says. “Instead of an inspection sticker you put on a crane, it will have our QR code. It allows any person, any passerby, to snap the QR code that has been affixed to any piece of equipment and see the equipment information, what this crane is, where and when it was last inspected and more. They can then request a copy of the inspection, which will be sent to them by the administrator. Or, if they have a login, they can log into the portal through the QR code and perform a daily inspection or email out a copy of the equipment’s inspection report.
“This idea was born out of many lawsuits I’ve been involved in. There’s no inspections, but if this becomes a problem, then you need that daily inspection record
“I don’t think we could have made this QR program any easier,” Sturm notes. “I’m going to say we’re the only ones in the country offering it, and offering it internationally as well.”
As a safety-training expert, Sturm has this final “wit and wisdom” for tree-business owners. “Stay in touch with the always-evolving advancements in safety policies and safer equipment,” he advises. “To that end, we offer an ever-growing catalog of training for the industry.”
“OSHA agreed to drop its case against Mayer Tree in full. It’s an outstanding result that we couldn’t have achieved without your exceptional report and your excellent advice.
I wanted to personally thank you for the time you put into helping Mayer, both before and after I got involved (and I know I asked a lot!). If I ever need another crane expert, I know where to turn.”
– Jason E. Armiger, attorney, partner, Gesmer Updegrove LLP, Boston, Mass
Patricia Chaudoin has been a freelance writer/editor for more than four decades, in areas as disparate as tree care, golf, weddings, luxury travel and international non-profit NGOs. She has been writing for TCI Magazine since July 2016.
TCI Magazine’s Corporate Member Spotlight is a sponsored feature.