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Update on Tower Crane Accident and Advisory on Their Safe Deployment

Preliminary investigations into the collapse of a tower crane on 22 Feb 2008 revealed that the four anchors located at the base of the crane had failed structurally (please refer to photo at Annex A). This resulted in the entire structure toppling over. Preliminary findings suggest that the crane was not lifting any load when it toppled over.

2. Following the accident, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) stopped all work on the worksite in order to investigate the cause of the collapse. Investigations are still on-going to determine what caused the structural failure. Both the main contractor Kimly Construction and the crane supplier Rango Machinery are assisting in the investigations.

Safe use of tower cranes

3. The collapse of an entire tower crane, as seen in this case, is rare. The last known case in Singapore involving such an incident was in 1997 where wrong parts were used to erect the crane. While this may not be a common occurrence, MOM has issued an alert to construction companies to immediately inspect their cranes before using them. Under the Workplace Safety & Health Act, it is the responsibility of all contractors deploying cranes to ensure the safe operation of the equipment at all times. They are also required to ensure, among other things, the following:

  1. Cranes are erected, altered or dismantled only by approved contractors and trained erectors;
  2. The method of erection or dismantling must be done in accordance to the manufacturer's instructions or manual;
  3. Cranes must be thoroughly examined and tested by an Authorised Examiner (Professional Engineer) before use and be subjected to an annual statutory inspection by an Authorised Examiner Person during use;
  4. Cranes must be operated by qualified crane operators who are registered with MOM;
  5. All lifting operations are supervised by competent and trained lifting supervisors with the assistance of trained riggers and signalmen.

4. While the investigation into the cause of the crane collapse is in progress, MOM inspectors have started checks on similar tower cranes. We will also conduct spot checks on other types of tower cranes. Companies found to have contravened safety and health laws are liable to be prosecuted under the Workplace Safety and Health Act which carries a maximum fine of $500,000.