Since 2000, there have been 8 fatal accidents in England and Wales associated with tower crane failure. An estimated 1,300 tower cranes are in use at any one time in England and Wales and these will be covered by new Health and Safety Executive (HSE) legislation from 6 April 2010.
See also the HSE leaflet Notification of Conventional Tower Cranes Regulations 2010, Guidance on complying with the Regulations.
Will the regulations apply to all cranes?
- No. Only conventional assisted tower cranes will be covered by the legislation. These are cranes that are transported in pieces and assembled on site. Self-erecting tower cranes are currently exempt from this legislation.
Why do the regulations only apply to conventional assisted tower cranes?
- Details of incidents involving cranes suggest that conventional assisted tower cranes have a higher risk profile than any others used on construction sites. Self-erecting cranes are often employed for less time on construction projects, and involve a different examination process.
What will the new regulations require?
- A notification to HSE of all operational crane details (owners, specific identifiers)
- Location of the erected crane (site address)
- Date of thorough examination
- Details of employer for whom the examination was conducted
- Whether there were any defects noted that may have the potential to cause injury
What does ‘thorough examination' mean?
- Consistent with the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, this means:
"...detailed examination by a competent person, who has the appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge and experience to enable them to detect defects or weaknesses and assess their importance in relation to the safety and continued use of the lifting equipment."
Who notifies HSE?
- The regulations place the onus on the "employer" to notify HSE. In the context of a construction operation, this will be the body in overall control of the lifting equipment, and the way the lifts are managed and performed. In the vast majority of instances, this is likely to be the Principal Contractor.
When does HSE need to be notified?
- Within 14 days of the thorough examination of the crane.
How do you notify HSE of the erection of a tower crane?
- It is envisaged that notification can be carried out online, via the HSE website.
Are there any transitional arrangements?
- Yes. When the regulations come into force in April 2010, cranes already erected need to be notified within 28 days.
Is there a cost to the notification process?
- Yes. £20 will be charged to cover the administrative costs of each notification.
Who sees the notified information?
- A register of all assisted conventional tower cranes in operation will be maintained by HSE. Access to the register will be available to everyone.
What else is HSE doing to improve the safety of tower cranes?
- HSE is combining the introduction of these regulations with continued efforts to clarify and set competency requirements of crane erectors and dismantlers. Further research is ongoing into the wind loading factors and design standards of cranes.