New tower crane inspection guide

By Euan Youdale19 May 2008

A comprehensive new guide designed to increase tower crane safety has been launched in the UK.

The Maintenance, Inspection and Through Examination of Tower Cranes is the latest best practice guide from the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) and was produced in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

At over 100 pages long, the guide aims to show crane operators, including rental companies and contractors, how to take preventative action to minimize the risk of accidents.

During the launch at UK construction exhibition SED 2008, in mid-May, HSE specialist inspector Ian Simpson said a number of issues had arisen from a series of worksite investigations. The y followed four fatal tower crane accidents in the UK since 2000, resulting in eight deaths.

Results revealed varying levels of effectiveness when it came to inspection, training and the supervision of maintenance. The inconsistencies were also discovered across sites managed by the same contractor. There were also questions over the independence of some tower crane examinations and their scope.

"There are a number of equipment maintenance management techniques that can be employed," states the guide, "including Breakdown Maintenance, where maintenance is only carried out after faults or failures have occurred, and Planned Preventive Maintenance, which involves routine inspection replacing parts and consumables, or making necessary adjustments at preset intervals, so that risks do not occur as a result of the deterioration or failure of the equipment."

Colin Wood, CPA chief executive, thanked the association's Tower Crane Interest Group (TCIG), which oversaw much of the work, but said it was vital that construction companies were made aware of the guide's existence.

The guide has been endorsed by a range of recognised industry organisations in the UK. It can be downloaded free-of-charge at the CPA website: http://www.cpa.uk.net .

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