EHS JOURNAL

Worker Caught ‘unknowingly’ between Crawler Crane’s Chassis and Tracks

Dear All,-

Sharing this case study below.

The worker was caught inside the crane’s chassis and tracks ‘unknowingly’ by the operator and lifting supervisor; and afterward pronounced dead at the scene.

Based on MOM’s Workplace Fatalities and Injuries statistics 2010, the type of ‘caught in/between (moving) objects’ incident is ranked 4th in term of its fatality and non-fatality injuries occurrence.

 

Have a good weekend.

Regards,

David Simon.

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WSH Alert – Worker Caught between Crawler Crane’s Chassis and Tracks

28 Feb 2011, Ref: 1011104


Incident

A crawler crane was slewing about its turntable when a signalman became sandwiched in between the chassis and the tracks of the crane. The incident happened after a lull period in the crane operation and in the early hours of the morning when it was still dark and under poor lighting conditions. Both the lifting supervisor and the crane operator were present but they did not know where the signalman was. He was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene.

Figure 1: Position of signalman when found at the scene of the incident

 

Recommendations*

1. Adhere to safe lifting procedure: Safe work procedures must be clearly communicated to all levels of personnel via channels such as written operating manuals, training courses and safety briefings. With regard to crane operations, the safe lifting procedure dictates that only the signalman is allowed to guide the crane operator. In this case, it would appear that the crane operator slewed the crane without knowing where the signalman (the deceased) was. As the signalman was apparently in the gap formed by the crane’s chassis and its tracks, he was sandwiched when the crane slewed about its turntable.

2. Ensure adequate supervision: Only authorised workers who have completed the necessary training should be allowed in the vicinity of the mobile crane. A lifting supervisor should oversee the workers and check to confirm that the crane slewing zone is clear of personnel before giving the signalman the authority to proceed. From this case, a learning point would be to ensure that the supervisors include both the rear and bottom of the crane in their checks before work commencement. A good practice would be for the crane operator to carry out a physical check before mounting the crane since the crane rear view mirrors cannot reveal the presence of personnel in blind spot areas. Good lighting is necessary to facilitate the supervisory checks. Any worker found performing unsafe acts or not complying with safe work procedures should be immediately counselled, and if need be, appropriately disciplined.

3. Establish effective communication channels: Employers should establish a variety of communication channels to ensure that safety messages and information on job hazards information will reach every worker. In this case, workers must be made aware (e.g. during safety briefings and toolbox meetings) of the inherent danger of resting or carrying out activities near the mobile crane. This is because any sudden movement may cause severe injury or even death. The use of hazard warning signs, placed at the sides and rear of the crane, may also be used to remind workers of the imminent danger of loitering unnecessarily in these areas. Dangerous situations may also be avoided if workers are provided with radio communication devices (e.g. walkie-talkies) so that they may easily confirm each other’s physical location before work commencement.

4. Conduct risk assessment: Proper risk assessment must be carried out by experienced and knowledgeable persons before work commencement. Through risk assessment, employers and workers can identify hazards and take appropriate actions to eliminate each hazard or reduce the level of risk. Once the hazards are identified, appropriate control measures and safe work procedures can then be developed and implemented to ensure the safety and health of all workers.

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