Statutory tower crane register for UK

By Alex Dahm23 February 2010

New laws to improve the safety of tower cranes on construction sites were laid before the UK Parliament on 22 February.

The regulations, which come into force on 6 April, include a statutory registration scheme for tower cranes. Developed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the measures are in response to increasing concerns about crane safety.

Eight people in the UK have been killed in incidents involving tower cranes since 2000.

Health and Safety Minister, Lord McKenzie, said, "The register is just one of the steps that the Government is taking to improve safety. HSE is developing specific competencies for crane erectors and dismantlers, conducting research into crane design standards, examining the effect of wind loading on cranes and looking to better understand the causes of crane failures internationally."

Judith Hackitt, HSE chair, said, "In developing these regulations we have taken a common sense and proportionate approach to the registration scheme, building on valuable consultation with industry.

"The register will help us all - regulators, the industry and government - deliver improved safety performance."

The regulations see a 'duty to notify' placed on the employer. Employers will have to notify the HSE of relevant information, including the site address and the name and address of the crane owner.

HSE will have to be notified within 14 days of a through examination of the crane, which must be carried out following installation or re-installation on a site before it can put into service.

Cranes already erected when the regulations come into force will have to be registered within 28 days. Notification will be available at the HSE web site. All information notified to the HSE will be contained in the register and the public will be able to request details.

HSE said around 1,800 tower cranes are operated in Britain, around 1,300 of which are in use at any one time.

Other elements in the package to improve tower crane safety include:

- creating a competency requirements framework for crane erectors and dismantlers

- undertaking more research into the effect of wind loading on cranes

- consideration of the adequacy of crane design standards

- greater research to improve understanding of crane accidents at an international level

- greater promotion of the industry safe crane campaign to improve public confidence in crane safety.

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