Tower crane safety summit to spur action

18 March 2008

An action plan designed to improve tower crane safety has been issued following a series of fatal accidents in the UK.

The Strategic Forum for Construction Health and Safety Group came up with a range of industry demands following a meeting in London on 9 August. They include a review of the competency of all tower crane operators, site inspectors and maintenance workers.

The forum also sought inductions for all those involved in erecting tower cranes, robust maintenance regimes and improved operator working conditions, along with better communication between operators and an easier environment for them to share concerns with employers without fear of retribution.

It was attended by a range of key industry figures, including manufacturers, major contractors, insurers, the Construction Plant-hire Association, the Construction Confederation and significantly the United Crane Operators' Association.

A forum spokesman said there had been strong consensus over the major areas of concern in the industry.

“There was recognition that the industry is already working hard to improve the use of tower cranes, including the production of clear and prescriptive guidance on issues such as crane operation and maintenance, along with the implementation of company procedures on managing tower crane activities,” the spokesperson added. However, the group felt individual groups should be more prepared to take ownership of issues that arose.

John Spanswick, forum chairman, said he called the meeting to provide a unique platform for open discussion concerning the use of tower cranes in the UK.

“Tower cranes are the most visible and largest piece of equipment on site and present a major potential hazard. It is important to maintain focus on the safe use of tower cranes and review regularly so that agreed action plans are being implemented,” he added

The next meeting will take place within six months.

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