UK tower crane register proposals

By Euan Youdale13 July 2009

Proposals for a statutory scheme to register tower cranes in the UK have been published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Under the proposals, details about a tower crane being used on a construction site will have to be supplied to the HSE. They include, the name and address of the crane owners, the site address, details needed to identify the crane, the date of its thorough examination, details of the employer for whom the examination was made, and whether any defects posing a risk of serious injury were detected.

All details notified to HSE will be contained in a register that will be open to public scrutiny. Each registration will cost £20 (US$32) to cover administration costs, it is proposed.

The HSE is also seeking views on whether the proposals should be extended to cover self erecting tower cranes and those used in non-construction settings, as well as conventional tower cranes on construction sites.

To this end, the HSE is carrying out a consultation period covering all aspects of the scheme, which is due to close on Friday 9 October 2009. The organisation said it was committed to establishing the scheme by April 2010.

According to the HSE, there about 2,400 tower cranes operated in Great Britain, with around 1,800 in use at any one time. Since 2000, eight people in the UK have been killed in incidents involving tower cranes, including one member of the public.

Philip White, HSE chief inspector of construction, said, "There have been a number of high profile and tragic failures of tower cranes in recent years and there is widespread interest in finding ways to improve safety. The consultation we have launched today (13 July) is designed to give everyone with an interest in the safe use of tower cranes a chance to have their say. We are giving people an opportunity to shape significant aspects of the scheme and we look forward to receiving their responses."

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