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Crane Mishaps: Site Inspections Stepped Up

  • The Straits Times (25 March 2008) : Crane Mishaps: Site Inspections Stepped Up
  • The Straits Times (18 March 2008) : Latest Crane Mishaps: Two accidents too many

Crane Mishaps: Site Inspections Stepped Up
- The Straits Times, 25 March 2008

Please refer to the letter by Mr Andrew Seow "Latest crane mishaps: Two accidents too many" (Straits Times, 18 March 2008).

2. MOM would like to assure Mr Seow that both legislative and educational measures are in place to ensure crane safety. The Workplace Safety and Health Act requires all contractors to ensure the safe operation of cranes at all times. They must ensure, among other things, the following:

Cranes are erected, altered or dismantled only by approved contractors and trained erectors, using methods that are in accordance to the manufacturer's instructions or manual;
Cranes must be thoroughly examined and tested by an Authorised Examiner before use and through an annual statutory inspection during use; and
Cranes must be operated by qualified crane operators registered with MOM.
3. Mr Seow has rightly pointed out that the responsibility to ensure the safe operation of cranes on a daily basis must rest with crane operators and contractors on the ground. To reinforce this, MOM has stepped up inspections on cranes at construction worksites. Members of the public who witness unsafe work practices should report them to the Ministry at (65) 6317 1111. We will act against companies or individuals who contravened safety and health laws. A conviction under the Workplace Safety and Health Act carries a maximum fine of $500,000 for companies. For individuals, the maximum fine is $200,000 and/or 2 years' jail.

Latest Crane Mishaps: Two accidents too many
- The Straits Times, 18 March 2008

I refer to Saturday's report, 'Crane topples onto pedestrian walkway'.

In the quest to complete as many construction projects as possible, contractors are likely to breach safety rules.

In the latest accident, the crane crashed onto a covered pedestrian walkway and narrowly missed a block of flats. Just last month, three workers died and two were injured when a 60m-tall tower crane toppled at a construction site at the National University of Singapore alumni complex and landed near a bus stop. Fortunately, there were no casualties involving pedestrians or commuters in these two accidents.

One accident like this is one too many. If this trend continues, it will be a matter of time before passers-by are maimed or killed. The latest accident shows the crane could even have crashed onto a block of flats, claiming lives and damaging property.

The Ministry of Manpower should impose heavier penalties on culprits who violate safety regulations. When an accident occurs, the ministry should issue a longer stop-work order against the contractor until he gets it right.

The onus is on crane suppliers and contractors to ensure cranes are safe to operate. To enhance safety, no crane should arrive at a construction site without prior ministry clearance.