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WorkSafe QLD: Maintaining sufficient clearances when lifting or lowering the crane hook or load close to structures

Thursday, 23 August, 2012 - 10:00
Incidents & prosecutions

WorkSafe QLD have produced a safety alert to highlight the importance of maintaining sufficient clearances between cranes and other plant and structures to avoid contact or collision.

The alert has arisen following an incident in July when a worker was seriously injured after being hit by a falling scaffolding component on a high-rise construction site. WorkSafe QLD report that the incident occurred when a tower crane was hoisting up its lifting gear near scaffolding. As the tower crane equalising sheave was being hoisted, it appears the lifting gear may have snagged on the scaffolding, causing a scaffolding component to fall.

WorkSafe QLD advises that planning is a crucial step in avoiding injury when working with cranes and other plant. Factors to be considered include personnel movement within the crane working area and the possibility of contact or collision between the crane with other plant and structures e.g. scaffold and other cranes.

WorkSafe QLD also highlight work systems in their alert, including ensuring that when lifting or lowering the crane hook or load close to structures that the raise and lower speed is slow enough so that contact with a structure can be avoided and that the dogger has a clear view of the hook and load at all times.

Another highlight of the safety alert are the requirement to have adequate resourcing to perform the role, and the crew members having appropriate levels of training and competency to perform their role safely.

Communication is also raised as an important issue, particularly between crane operators and doggers, noting that work should stop immediately if there is a loss of communication. WorkSafe QLD advises that a safe system of rules for communication should be developed and implemented, including:

  • how people communicate over the radio (e.g. terms to use for consistency);
  • that people are appropriately trained and examined in relation to their competency in the system; and 
  • that records are kept in relation to the system and training.

WorkSafe QLD also reminds people of the requirement for maintaining safe distances from overhead electric lines. For information including relevant guidance notes and codes of practice, head to the WorkSafe QLD website.