Calls for national register of tower crane to improve safety standards have been formally rejected
Crane safety campaigners have reacted angrily to the government’s announcement that it will not set up a national register for tower cranes.
Despite the idea of a register being endorsed by the Work and Pensions Select Committee, the government has rejected the proposal.
Calls to introduce a register to keep track of cranes nationwide were prompted by a series of fatal accidents involving tower cranes in recent years.
A spokesperson for the Battersea Crane Disaster Action Group, set up after a crane collapse in Battersea killed two people in September 2006, said it was angry a the decision.
She said: “We’ll be doing everything we can to protest about the government’s response. We firmly believe that a register of plant is necessary and the select committee agrees. Why are the government refusing to take some positive action to save lives?”
Establishment and maintenance of such a register, even if it were limited to tower cranes, would be burdensome
In its official response to the select committee’s recommendation, the department for work and pensions said it did not think a register was “the best way forward”.
It said: “There is an enormous range and quantity of plant used in the construction industry and it moves between sites frequently. Establishment and maintenance of such a register, even if it were limited to tower cranes, would be burdensome and unlikely to have the desired effect on safety standards.
“Owners and users are already legally obliged to ensure their plant is inspected, examined and maintained in a safe condition. HSE is working with the Strategic Forum for Construction to ensure that the industry understands and promulgates the practical measures it needs to take to comply with these legal requirements.”
In January this year Building magazine backed the Battersea Crane Disaster Action Group’s demands by launching its own ‘Safer Skyline’ campaign calling for a scrap-by date on cranes and a public register of checks to be introduced.
The final report into the Battersea fatalities will be out in September.