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Crane operators told to name unsafe firms

PLANT - United Crane Operators Association compiles dossier of unsafe practice from anonymous tip-offs

THE BODY representing crane drivers has called on workers to blow the whistle on unsafe machines.

The United Crane Operators Association has vowed to name and shame poor performers.

At the same time, UCOA has published its 'agenda for change', which details the ways that drivers who work with mobile and tower cranes said safety could be improved.

John Batey, the head of UCOA, said it was compiling an unsafe practices dossier to enable drivers to report worries anonymously.

Mr Batey said that, despite the furore over the Battersea and New Street Square accidents and the public outcry over a crane near a school in West Sussex, firms were still flouting safety.

He said: 'Just last week a driver reported a crane to his bosses that he thought was unsafe but he was told to get on with the job.

'The crane was an absolute disgrace and it frightened the life out of him.

'It was only when the customer was informed that an independent person inspected it and the driver was proved right.

'This was a man with 30 years' experience, but a young operator may not have the confidence to speak out, for fear of his job.'

UCOA called on drivers to report their concerns in confidence on johnbatey1@aol. com.

Mr Batey added: 'Some of these firms appear to have a total disregard for safety. Cranes cannot go on for ever.'

UCOA has called for a 'sell-by date' for all tower cranes and tighter maintenance procedures. It also asked for more formal planning before a crane is erected and more input from operators.