Association calls for competent tower crane inspections

By Euan Youdale26 February 2010

The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) is warning employers to ensure tower crane examinations are carried out by "genuinely competent personnel."

The warning follows the release of guidance by the UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on the forthcoming Notification of Conventional Tower Cranes Regulations 2010.

Geoff Holden, LEEA chief executive, said, "The new regulations will clearly focus even greater attention on the need to conduct thorough examination of tower cranes on construction sites in accordance with the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER).

"However, among some companies there is still misunderstanding about what such examinations should actually involve, and who is qualified to undertake them."

LOLER specifies that thorough examinations are undertaken by a competent person.

"Competence encompasses both theoretical expertise and practical experience of the lifting equipment in question. The LEEA's Diploma examination is a long established and industry recognised qualification for this specialised discipline and employers should insist that only engineers who have passed the relevant modules are allowed to undertake thorough examination of tower cranes," said Holden.

"This will also help to ensure that there is no danger of corners being cut to minimise the cost involved, which is another potential problem when inadequately qualified staff are given the job," added Holden.

To help employers identify competent engineers, the LEEA last year began issuing a Test, Examine and Maintain (TEAM) card to employees of member companies that hold Diploma qualifications.

The LEEA also maintains a central register of qualified engineers, allowing employers to verify anyone proposing to undertake a thorough examination.

*The Notification of Tower Crane Regulations comes into force on 6 April 2010. The regulations require certain information about conventional tower cranes used on construction sites to be notified to the HSE.

This includes the date of the thorough examination.

*The HSE has published a guidance leaflet, INDG437, which is available for free download at www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/indg437.htm

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