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Date PostedFebruary 28, 2013

Another Crane Incident being investigated by NT WorkSafe

Crane safety has made the news once again following a workplace accident at a shipping yard at Darwin Harbour.  A shipping container was dropped and hit the deck of the vessel it was being loaded onto. From the article below on SafetyCulture.com.au it appears that the incident was an example of operator error, read more about the incident:

NT-WorkSafe-logoThere has been a workplace accident that involved a crane this afternoon at a shipping yard located near the Duck Pond.

Whilst being loaded onto a ship in Darwin Harbour a shipping container reported to be carrying tonnes of steel fell and hit the deck of the vessel.

According to a report in the NT News, the operator of the crane attempted to load the 12.2 metre container into a small space but it hit an exposed hydraulic hose.

The hose was severed on impact and the crane as a consequence lost pressure.

Thomas Mayor, the Maritime Union NT organiser, said that this was the third time that this kind of accident had happened at the Darwin wharves in a two-year period.

He said that it was lucky that nobody was injured or killed when the container fell because there were people located in the danger zone at the time.

NT WorkSafe will be investigating the accident.


Workers in the above incident were lucky to escape uninjured however next time they may not be so fortunate. Although this occurred in a ship yard instead of a construction site, building industry workers can learn a few very important lessons from the incident.

Firstly anyone operating a crane should be trained and certified in crane operation and dogging. Workers who cannot present the necessary certificates should not be allowed access to the crane because inexperienced and untrained operators often drop loads, hit the crane arm into overhead power lines, hit into other workers etc. Deaths and injuries from cranes almost always occur at the hands of another worker.  Crane operation is not as easy as it looks, it is a complex task and accidents can be fatal.

As the above incident demonstrates, operators carry great responsibility and need to be aware of the danger zones on site. Danger zones are the areas where the operator may be hit by the load or the boom section of the crane and avoid entering the danger zones while operating the crane.  Operators are also responsible for monitoring the load stability and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions in operating the crane.

Another important lesson to learn from this, is the need for exclusion zones to be set up wherever crane work is being undertaken to keep other workers on safe and out of harm’s way.

Goods should always be properly secured before lifted. Improperly secured loads are a common source of crushing because loads are large and heavy (on a construction site building materials, equipment and debris are some of the items lifted) so when they fall and hit workers below, they cause crushing injuries, some leading to death. While it is tempting to get the job done as quickly as possible, it only takes a split second for the load to slip and injure or kill a person below.


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: , , , , , ,


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