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April 5, 2009

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HSE to consult on statutory crane register

The HSE will launch a regulatory consultation exercise this summer to

determine the full nature of a statutory tower-crane register, and how

it will operate.

The register, which SHP confirmed last month was being planned, should be running as a statutory scheme by April next year. This will be preceded by a voluntary scheme, details of which are currently being thrashed out by the HSE and the plant safety group of the Strategic Forum for Construction.

It marks a major change of heart for the Government, which had initially rebuffed the idea of such a scheme, suggesting it would be “burdensome” and unlikely to have a “desired effect on safety standards”.

The register is part of a wider package of proposals to improve tower-crane safety. Among these other measures, the HSE is working with industry to improve the competence of those involved in the erection, operation, examination, and dismantling of tower cranes. It has also promised to carry out targeted inspection work over the next 12 months to ensure that industry is following guidance published last year aimed at improving safety in crane use.

Announcing the register, Work and Pensions secretary, James Purnell, said: “It’s unacceptable that people are dying directly as a cause of their work with tower cranes and I want to prevent this toll of human misery.

“It is also important that the package of measures is successful in both improving tower-crane safety and improving public confidence in cranes. HSE will consult with both the industry and the public to agree how both of these ends can best be achieved.”

Construction union UCATT welcomed the announcement. General secretary, Alan Ritchie, said: “James Purnell should be applauded for his support for a statutory register. The knowledge that tower cranes will be correctly installed and in a safe condition is a massive reassurance for our members. A tower-crane collapse is terrifying and could lead to the death of the crane driver, workers on the ground, or passers-by. Everything possible must be done to ensure that tower-crane collapses are confined to history.”

UCATT is also campaigning for the introduction of specific qualifications for those who erect tower cranes. Currently there are only general qualifications for the installation of large plant.

Added Ritchie: “Erecting tower cranes is highly skilled work. It is imperative that a specific qualification is introduced. Unskilled workers are potentially placing themselves and others in danger.”

Approaches to managing the risks associated Musculoskeletal disorders

In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, we hear from Matt Birtles, Principal Ergonomics Consultant at HSE’s Science and Research Centre, about the different approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders.

Matt, an ergonomics and human factors expert, shares his thoughts on why MSDs are important, the various prevalent rates across the UK, what you can do within your own organisation and the Risk Management process surrounding MSD’s.

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