WorkSafe lifts the bar on crane safety

Thursday, 31 July, 2008

New guidance to help improve the safety of people who own, use or maintain bridge and gantry cranes has been released by WorkSafe Victoria.

Titled Working safely with bridge and gantry cranes, the publication is designed to illustrate issues relating to the safe use of cranes and describes risk controls and unsafe practices.

WorkSafe’s manufacturing, logistics and agriculture industry program director, Trevor Martin, said bridge and gantry cranes were potentially dangerous and needed to be correctly used and maintained.

“There can be a complacency relating to the use and maintenance of bridge and gantry cranes in the workplace,” he said.

“There is a lack of understanding about the dangers of their use. Many people think they are simple to use, the risks are little understood and the need for maintenance is often overlooked.

“It is not uncommon for WorkSafe inspectors to see cranes carrying loads heavier than what they are rated for, or using incorrect slinging equipment.

In April, a company was fined $150,000 after pleading guilty to two breaches of workplace safety laws after an incident in which a man was seriously hurt after being struck by a moving gantry crane on an oilrig.

The court was told that, in 2001, a similar incident involving a gantry crane on another oil rig operated by the same company resulted in a worker being killed.

“It is always more dangerous to wait for a failure to learn a lesson. The reality of this danger is often seen in the courts,” said Martin.

“If you are an employer that uses bridge and gantry cranes, WorkSafe urges you to actively use the handbook to undertake a review of the cranes, and use the information in the guide to determine which control measures you should be implementing.”

WorkSafe inspectors will use the handbook as a basis for inspections of bridge and gantry cranes in the coming year.

For more information, visit WorkSafe Victoria’s website.


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