Lost your White Card? Click here to get a replacement. It's quick and easy!

Date PostedFebruary 6, 2013

Alert Issued: Fire Risk of Mobile Cranes

The recent crane incident in Sydney has led WorkCover NSW to issue a safety alert to advise officers and workers about the risk of fires breaking out when tower cranes are used for the sites operations.

Watch the video below of the incident in Sydney that prompted WorkCover NSW to issue the alert:

Link http://youtu.be/WzDCOTKKxhc

As you can tell from the video, the results could have been devastating. Luckily no one was injured in the surrounding area and the crane operator also managed to make it out in one piece. Some good has come from the incident in that crane safety around Oz has come under the spotlight, forcing companies and operators to tighten their safety measures.

WorkCover NSW joined in the concern over crane safety in Sydney and has issued this safety alert to warn workers, operators and others of the potential dangers of working with cranes.

The investigation into the incident found that a number of factors have contributed to incident. The aim of the safety alert according to WorkCover is to provide advice on inspections and possible modifications to control the risks.

The information below provided by WorkCover on their website is for both diesel hydraulic cranes and electric tower cranes:

During a fire on the machine deck of a diesel/hydraulic powered luffing tower crane the luff rope failed, allowing the jib to collapse onto the worksite below. Fortunately there were no injuries as the worksite had been evacuated and the jib fell into the evacuated worksite, rather than into a populated area.

The incident appears to have resulted from the fire heating the luff rope and weakening it to the point where it could no longer support the jib and consequently failed. The fire could have been fuelled by the diesel fuel or the hydraulic fluid used to power the crane motions, however at this stage the ignition source has not been identified.


There are a number of potential contributing factors on the machine deck to the fire starting and then continuing for sufficient time to damage the rope.

  • Quantities of combustible liquid, diesel and hydraulic fluid, in tanks and being pumped in high pressure lines and hoses.
  • A diesel engine which provides a number of potential ignition sources.
  • An electrical system which provides a number of potential ignition sources.
  • A diesel engine and hydraulic pump and motors whose failure could result in a loss of significant quantities of combustible liquid.

Read more: http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/formspublications/publications/Pages/risks-associated-with-fire-on-cranes-safety-alert.aspx

WorkCover went on to suggest that employers responsible for crane use ensure risks to the health and safety of workers (as well as visitors to the site or surrounding it) is minimised as much as possible.

In addition to the safety measures regarding crane operations in particular, the alert also warned employers and principal contractors about the importance of a site evacuation plan and the need for effective communication systems in order to have safe evacuations.

Principal contractors should review their site evacuation plans and communication systems and revise them if necessary. Also the law requires principal contractors to test all emergency procedures to ensure they are efficient.

You can read all the safety measures proposed by WorkCover on their website www.workcover.nsw.gov.au


Steven Asnicar is regarded as a leader across many fields of industry. In particular, his specialisation across the health, infrastructure, construction, resource and utility sectors has seen him successfully change the dynamics of these industries through the introduction of new strategic, marketing, training and technical frameworks. Steven works closely with industry peak bodies such as Safework Australia, Australian Logistics Council, National Advisory for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (NATESE) and the Council of Australian Governments in the development of new delivery standards and industry specific programs.

Posted in General Construction, White Card, White Card Construction Site Safety Articles Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Urban E-Learning is not registered with CRICOS, therefore cannot offer training to student visa holders; please click here to see the UEL Student Handbook for further information.