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REPORT ON TOWER CRANE INCIDENTS WORLDWIDE

Erection, dismantling and climbing account for 1/3 of tower crane incidents

Since 2000 there have been five major incidents on UK construction sites that involved the collapse of a tower crane. HSE requested the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) to:

“identify tower crane incidents that had taken place around the world between 1989 to 2009 and obtain, where possible, the causes of each incident and the tower crane involved”.

The intention was to use the report to assist in advising and guiding the UK tower crane industry to help improve safety.

Main findings

A world wide total of 86 incidents involving the collapse or major structural failure of a tower crane have been identified as taking place between 1989 and 2009.

Each incidents analysed was placed in one of the following seven categories as follows:

  • Erection/Dismantling/Extending of the crane – 29 incidents (34%)
  • Extreme Weather – 15 incidents (18%)
  • Foundation Issues – 2 incidents (2%)
  • Mechanical or Structural Issues – 4 incidents (5%)
  • Misuse – 6 Incidents (7%)
  • Electrical/Control System Issues – 1 incident (1%)
  • Unknown Cause – 28 incidents (33%)

Note: One UK incident (in 2009) is excluded from the analysis pending conclusion of the regulatory investigation and any legal proceedings which might arise.

Ten (10) of the world wide total of 86 incidents took place in the U.K. The causes of these were dominated by erection/dismantling/climbing and extreme weather.

No particular crane manufacturer has been identified as being more prone to incidents than any other.

Comment

In respect of 33% of these incidents HSL were unable to establish the ’cause’. This limits the validity of the findings.

A great deal of work has been undertaken in the last few years by UK tower crane users, industry bodies and HSE to address the underlying causes of tower crane incidents.

The relevant information is available through the Safe Crane Campaign section of the Construction Plant-hire Association website

 

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