Commissioner Spotlight: William (Hank) Dutton
Hank Dutton has been in the construction industry for more than 25 years; his current position is Senior Technical Specialist, Construction Risk Control at Travelers. Mr. Dutton has been employed at Travelers for over 20 years and has had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of contractors covering most types of construction. Throughout his career he has been involved with construction safety; he started his career with a large general contractor as a Project Safety Director working on sites that were insured by wrap-up insurance programs. Hank’s vast experience allows him to regularly assist clients with questions relating to cranes and rigging.
In his current role as a Senior Technical Specialist for cranes and rigging, Mr. Dutton is responsible for the crane and rigging training products offered by Travelers. Some of the courses he instructs include prep courses for crane operators and lift directors preparing to take CCO written exams for mobile crane and tower crane certifications. He also spends significant time training clients’ management so they understand their role in ensuring safe crane operations. He wants management to know that a crane safety program goes beyond just having certified operators.
Hank first attended an NCCCO Commissioners Meeting as the guest of a colleague in April 2006. In 2008, Hank was elected as a representative of the Insurance sector on the NCCCO Commission. This was a natural progression, given Hank’s long-term focus on keeping management aware of its role in crane safety. Mr. Dutton currently serves as the Chairman of the Lift Director Management Committee for NCCCO and is a CCO-certified Lift Director for Mobile Cranes. Mr. Dutton also serves on the NCCCO Written Exam Management Committee, Tower Crane Management Committee, and Rigger Program Management Committee.
Mr. Dutton sees NCCCO as a unique organization because it brings together the smartest people in the business, and even though they may be competitors, everyone is able to work toward common goals. “My involvement in NCCCO has been a great asset to my career because it gives me a chance to work with all facets of the industry,” he said. “All the major stakeholders are working together toward the same goal: ensuring that the entire crane team—and everyone on the jobsite—goes home at the end of the day without accident or injury.”
Working at Travelers, much of Hank’s efforts revolve around risk management. He says, “While it may difficult to calculate exactly how many accidents have been prevented due to effective risk management, NCCCO’s certifications have without a doubt contributed to overall improvements in the safety and health of everyone involved with safe lifting.” He also sees CCO certification as benefiting the operators and other crane team members in other ways, such as improving their professional status and opening up additional job opportunities that are available only to CCO-certified personnel. He feels that qualifying crane operators used to be highly subjective, but the objectiveness of CCO certifications enhances employers’ ability to hire qualified personnel that have the knowledge and skills for safe crane operations.
Over the years, Hank has investigated numerous crane accidents—some fatal—so he’s deeply committed to bringing awareness of crane safety to a broader audience besides just those who interact with cranes and lifting on a daily basis. Hank says, “Part of my job is to help our accounts understand their role in crane safety. That’s because crane safety goes beyond just the crane operator; it also involves the employers’ management, safety teams, superintendents, project managers, and estimators, as well as the crane team itself (riggers, signalpersons, crane inspectors, and lift directors).” This broader perspective has played out as NCCCO has evolved and added CCO certifications beyond those for crane operators—including those for the entire crane team—thereby closing the loop on jobsite safety.
Mr. Dutton earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Construction from Kennesaw State University in Marietta, GA, where he was a member of Sigma Lambda Chi, the Construction Honor Society. When he’s not traveling, Hank enjoys spending time on his farm with his family, remodeling old buildings, and taking care of three horses.