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"Operation Hornbill" Results in 31 Companies & Individuals Fined, 5 Stop-Work Orders

MOM reiterates importance of Crane Lifting Operations Safety remains top priority for MOM

24 September 2012

  1. "Operation Hornbill", which focused on the safety of lifting operations at worksites involving cranes, is the first major enforcement exercise since the enactment of the Workplace Safety and Health (Operation of Cranes) Regulations in September 2011.
  2. Conducted over a period of three months by the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) Occupational Safety & Health Division (OSHD), the operation covered the safety requirements specified in the Regulations, which include the establishment and implementation of Lifting Plans1, as well as Permit-to-Work Systems2 for lifting operations involving cranes. "Operation Hornbill" also checked other crane safety-related requirements, such as the structural integrity of the cranes, functionality of safety devices fitted on the cranes, as well as the overall management and conduct of safe lifting operations.
  3. The operation uncovered a total of 67 contraventions of the WSH (Operation of Cranes) Regulations. As a result, 31 companies were issued fines of between $200 and $6,200 each. MOM also issued five Stop-Work Orders for serious contraventions relating to crane safety.
  4. The top five contraventions found were:

    i. Failure to maintain the cranes in good working order;

    ii. Failure to establish and implement a proper Lifting Plan;

    iii. Failure to implement a Permit-to-Work System for lifting operations;

    iv. Using a defective lifting gear or using a lifting gear without certification; and

    v. Using a crane which has not been examined and certified by an Authorised Examiner.

    Crane Safety Remains a Top Priority for MOM
  5. Er Mohd Ismadi, Deputy Director (Engineering Safety), OSHD said, "Operation Hornbill zoomed in on the implementation of Lifting Plans and Permit-to-Work Systems, which are mandatory requirements under the WSH (Operation of Cranes) Regulations. The Ministry of Manpower is very concerned. The number of crane accidents has been on the rise since 2007, and this is a cause for concern. There were three crane-related fatalities in the first half of 2012, up from two in the same period in 2011. Many of the accidents arose from insufficient planning, failure to follow established procedures and unsafe acts. MOM will continue to step up enforcement operations on the ground, while continuing with efforts on the engagement and education front. MOM also reminds all stakeholders to review their procedures and establish and implement proper Lifting Plans to ensure the safe conduct of lifting operations at their workplaces."

    Employers have Responsibility to Ensure Safety of Workers
  6. Mr Mohamed Abdul Akbar, Chairman, National Crane Safety Taskforce3, said, "Many of the lapses that were seen in the latest MOM enforcement exercise are not new to the crane community. This is a strong reminder that we cannot afford to be complacent. While industry players grapple with new worksites, new workers and new equipment, these challenges can be overcome if everyone is committed to ensuring that plans are properly worked out and followed through. All employers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their workers at the worksites." The WSH Council and the National Crane Safety Task Force will continue to work closely with MOM on initiatives to promote safe lifting practices and facilitate the training of crane operators.

Factsheet on Operation Hornbill

1 The Lifting Plan takes into account details like dimensions of the load, intended load radius of crane, how lifting team communicates, physical and environmental considerations like ground conditions and obstacles. A Responsible Person will also be required to establish and implement this Lifting Plan before commencement of any lifting works.

2 A Permit-to-Work System (PTWS) is a systematic safety framework to ensure that hazardous work such as lifting operations using tower or mobile cranes, work involving entry into confined spaces and tunnelling work is allowed to commence only after the work environment and condition are assessed to be safe by competent persons. The requirement for implementation of PTWS is stipulated in the WSH (Construction) Regulations, the WSH (Shipbuilding and Ship-repairing) Regulations as well as the WSH (Confined Spaces) Regulations.

3 The National Crane Safety Taskforce was formed in 2009 by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council to improve safety of crane operations. The Taskforce comprises members from various stakeholder groups such as government organisations, industry players, and crane suppliers and manufacturers.