An incident that occurred in Victoria recently has highlighted the danger of working with cranes for employees and the need for employers to ensure worker safety. The crane in question collapsed on a worker, causing him to sustain serious injuries.
This post on Abc.net.au explain what happened:
A drilling company has been fined $170,000 after pleading guilty to a workplace safety incident at the Wonthaggi desalination plant.
In the Korumburra Magistrates Court last week, PezzimentiLaserbore Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to ensure the safety of workers.
WorkSafe Victoria says the company was at fault when a crane collapsed and injured a worker.
The injured worker suffered sustained shoulder, back, leg and other injuries.
The company was also ordered to pay almost $3,000 in legal costs.
There are numerous ways that workers in the vicinity of a crane can be injured. Crane incidents include a full or partial crane collapse, ancillary equipment failure that endangers drivers, workers and those in proximity, negligent mishandling or misuse of the lifting equipment by the driver which usually restricts injuries to co-workers or objects dropped while being lifted.
The sheer size and enormity of a crane and its load can cause massive destruction if it collapses and although this is rare, the incident in Wonthaggi proves that it can happen. Employers must be diligent when safeguarding workers against this type of incident.
Many crane accidents have also occurred where workers on site have been struck by loads that were being moved or lifted due to negligence by the crane operator either through lack of experience or training or a simple mistake often caused by communication difficulties. Ensuring a good system of communication between the operator and those directing the load is vital to good safety.
Loads that weigh tons can cause extreme damage to property, danger to workers and fatalities, particularly on building sites. Another cause for concern when working with cranes is falling objects. The whole purpose of a crane is to lift loads too heavy for manual lifting which implies that the load is extremely heavy and most probably large, which could cause severe injuries and fatalities if dropped onto workers below. Due to the heights that are often involved in a crane accident even small falling objects can pose extreme danger.
One of the most important responsibilities of employers is to ensure that the equipment is well maintained and operating properly because as proven in the incident above any failure with equipment will result in costly fines for the company.
Another issue relating to crane safety is ensuring that operators are adequately trained and supervised. Giving an untrained worker such powerful equipment is careless and foolish. Only licenced operators should be allowed to operate such dangerous machinery. Also workers in the vicinity of the cranes operation should be familiar with the basic safety rules of crane use because any incidents may affect them as well.