Interview with Richard Krabbendam – Heavy Lift Specialist – Heavy Lift News
24 Jan 2019

Interview with Richard Krabbendam – Heavy Lift Specialist

Just over 10 years ago Richard Krabbendam started as the Heavy Lift Specialist. Starting a new career; a career based on over 40 years working in the industry.

After High school and military service, he studied Mechanical Engineering at Delft Technical University, the Dutch university with one of the best technical reputations in Europe, graduating with a Master’s Degree for Mechanical Engineering and Energy Generation.  At this time, in the early 1970’s, much of the heavy lift work was carried out with insufficient serious planning. Project success was often a result of application of experience rather than calculations and technical knowledge. This situation was soon to change.

Starting with Big Lift in 1973, Richard started ITREC in 1980, followed by moving on to Van Seumeren in 1987 and finally in 1989 he started on 22 years with Jumbo. These years cover a huge amount of heavy lift management and project leadership and so it is not surprising that in 2008 he started the Heavy Lift Specialist seminars teaching safe practices and passing on his wealth of knowledge and experience to others from all over the world.

Starting the news website was the next logical move and that is why we asked him for this interview today, on the eve of the new format of

We asked him what we should discuss, his immediate response was Safety!

The roots of a safe project lie in the planning stages, often long before the actual project starts., Today safety is a hot topic either through legislation or quality control systems, but still incidents occur when safety plans fail. Failure caused either by lack of planning or lack of control of material being used, simply caused by failure with preparation for using the equipment or material correctly.

Throughout the Heavy Lift Specialist Seminars, he there is one point stressed as often as possible, “accidents are incidents that cannot be prevented.” Most of the so-called accidents are incidents caused by lack of planning and preparation. Examples of accidental damage is damage caused by a hurricane or a lightning strike during a thunder storm. Incidental damage is caused by lack of maintenance, control of equipment and materials and many other reasons, all of which should have been identified before the project started at the planning stage.

Richard explains further, “Understanding the physics that apply to the movement of mass; the 3 laws of Newton for example, and the control of the forces involved should not be beyond the level of understanding of anybody involved in planning heavy lift operations.”

Open discussion of the causes of incidents should be encouraged. He gives as an example the passenger aircraft sector where safety is extremely well controlled. Whether it is because of a commercial reason; passengers would not use an unsafe airline with a high accident rate, or whether it is because of a high level of planning and preparation.

“If there is an accident or an incident it should be followed by an open and deep investigation and this be available for discussion every time,” he continued. “Learning from our mistakes is painful but very effective if ït is permitted to be open and frank.”

Other mantras include ‘Preparation and Planning result in a safe industry’, ‘failure of planning is the same as planning for failure’, and finally the 7 “P’s”…’Proper planning and preparation prevent piss poor performance.’

To go deeper into safety and planning on this occasion, here in this interview, would result in many pages of text. A good part of the manual you would receive as a delegate at one of the Heavy Lift Specialist Seminars is dedicated to safety, planning and preparation. For that level of reading you should enroll on the next seminar and hear about this and other topics directly from Richard and his colleagues. Details of these seminars can be found on

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