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HSE inspectors home in on rogue crane workers

LETTERS

Sir, I was interested to read your prize letter headed 'Rogue element puts site lifting in jeopardy' (CN, February 24). I have been leading a small group of Health and Safety Executive inspectors in a project on lifting which has been looking at the use of mobile cranes.

Many of the problems with lifting operations described by your correspondent chime with what we have found.

The industry as a whole has improved.

They use better equipment and, most importantly, the need for proper planning is widely accepted.This shows up quite clearly in the accident figures.

But there is a rogue element taking chances, just as your letter writer maintains.This is not necessarily the smaller companies.Crane depot managers for the large organisations sometimes take a chance in order to get the business and site managers sometimes go for a low price regardless.

We are not complacent on this one - the accident figures are down but we are fully aware of the possibility of a very serious incident from just one crane overturning or collapsing as, unfortunately, we have seen recently.

So what is the HSE going to be doing for the next year? We will continue to work with the industry to maintain the improvements in standards.

We will be targeting slinging, where there are still serious problems (20 fatal accidents since 2000) and searching out those who do not follow the rules.We will also be looking for help on this from the responsible companies.

Everyone on site should be aware of the correct procedure but, to make it absolutely clear, there should be no lifting without proper planning by a competent person and then the plan has to be followed.

Richard Lockwood, HM Inspector of Health and Safety, Northampton