Bridge crane falls, injures worker

Monday, 21 October, 2019

Bridge crane falls, injures worker

A crane operator has been injured after a bridge crane’s anchoring system failed, causing the crane to fall to the ground.

Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Queensland is still investigating the incident; however, the regulator warns there are several risks associated with cranes and lifting equipment, including: falling objects due to plant or equipment failure or operator error, operators falling while accessing or performing maintenance on the crane and structural failures leading to rollovers or collapse.

To prevent similar incidents, designers — such as engineers and architects — must ensure cranes and supporting structures are free of health and safety risks to constructors, users and those working around the plants or structures, so far as reasonably practicable.

This includes working with clients and constructors to identify and manage any hazards and risks, according to the hierarchy of control, and eliminating risks where reasonably practicable.

WHS Queensland said incorporating load-bearing columns along the bridge crane’s runway early in the design process can help eliminate risk by providing extra support. However, any modifications to the crane or support structures must be assessed and verified by a suitably qualified professional engineer.

If this solution is not reasonably practicable, engineering controls can be used. For example, where an anchor system is used to attach a crane’s runway rail beams to concrete, the designer must select and install anchors that will exceed the crane’s design life and are suitable for the maximum load and type of loading, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Where reinforcing steel in the concrete makes this impractical, support columns may be placed under the runway rail beams.

Administrative controls should also be implemented — such as periodic inspection of the crane, runway and supporting structures, in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations, and installation of warning signs advising where cranes operate and designated exclusion zones.

Any remaining risk must be minimised with personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hardhats and protective eyewear, WHS Queensland said.

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