several tower cranes in action at a commercial construction site

UK Tower Crane Rules in Final Approval Stage

A publicly available register of tower cranes will be launched April 6, 2010, if the regulations go forward from here.

The Health and Safety Executive's board has approved new reguations governing the use of construction tower cranes after a three-month comment period in which 100 comments came in from unions, construction contractors, and other stakeholders. The rules are now before government ministers for final approval and will take effect in April 2010 if they pass that hurdle.

A publicly available register of cranes to be launched April 6 is at the heart of the regulations, which respond to public concern about tower crane safety, according to HSE, which is Britain's OSHA agency. Eight Britons have died in incidents involving tower cranes since 2000, including one member of the public.

The proposed regulations will require employers to provide notification to HSE within 14 days of a thorough examination of a crane, require cranes already erected when the regulations take effect to be registered within 28 days, and will allow electronic notification via HSE's Web site. The data to be submitted include the location where the tower crane is being used, name and address of the crane's owners, identifying information for that crane, the date of its thorough examination, details of the employer for whom the examination was made, and whether any defect posing a risk of serious injury was detected.

"There have been a number of high-profile and tragic failures of tower cranes in recent years, and there is widespread interest in finding ways to improve safety," said Philip White, HSE's chief construction inspector. "The public consultation has helped us to develop a proportionate response to an established risk. We have learned a great deal from recent incidents and are working together with hirers, suppliers, manufacturers, and stakeholders to ensure that anything we have learned is acted upon." About 1,800 conventional tower cranes are used in Britain, with about 1,300 in use at any given time.

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