WorkSafe Victoria has released new guidance to help improve the safety of people who own, use or maintain bridge and gantry cranes.
Working safely with bridge and gantry cranes was developed with industry groups, unions and employers. It has been designed to illustrate issues relating to the safe use of cranes and describes the ideal risk controls and practices that are not acceptable.
WorkSafe Victoria’s Manufacturing, Logistics and Agriculture Industry Program Director, Trevor Martin, said people had to recognise that bridge and gantry cranes were potentially dangerous and needed to be correctly used and maintained.
“There can be a complacency relating to the use and maintenance of bridge and gantry cranes in the workplace,” Trevor Martin said.
“There is a lack of understanding about the dangers of their use. Many people think they are simple to use, the risks are little understood and the need for maintenance if often overlooked.
“It is not uncommon for WorkSafe Inspectors to see cranes carrying loads heavier than what they are rated for or using incorrect slinging equipment.
“It is always more dangerous to wait for a failure to learn a lesson. The reality of this danger is often seen in the courts.”
In April, a company was fined $150,000 after pleading guilty to two breaches of workplace safety laws after an incident in which a man was seriously hurt after being struck by a moving gantry crane.
The incident occurred on an oil rig and the court was told that in 2001, a similar incident involving a gantry crane on another oil rig operated by the same company, resulted in a worker being killed.
In June, another company was committed to stand trial in the County Court to face charges laid relating to the November 2006 death of a man who was killed while moving a seven metre steel roller-door drum with an overhead gantry crane.
“It is a simple equation - with the right procedures and practices in place, people will not be exposed to the risk of being killed or injured by bridge and gantry cranes,” Trevor Martin said.
“If you are an employer which uses bridge and gantry cranes WorkSafe urges you to actively use the handbook to undertake a review of the cranes and use the information in the guide to determine which control measures you should be implementing.
“WorkSafe Inspectors will use the handbook as a basis for inspections of bridge and gantry cranes in the coming year.”
Working safely with bridge and gantry cranes is supported by a WorkSafe Health and Safety Solution (a short, topic-based, step-by-step solution) focusing on maintenance records and a poster to remind workplaces to carry out inspections of cranes, slings and accessories.