The HSE says it was investigating the safety of cranes long before crane collapse at Battersea

The Health and Safety Executive was concerned about the safety of tower cranes long before the Battersea crane collapse in September.

Stephen Williams, HSE’s chief executive of construction, said: “We started a programme of work looking at tower cranes long before the unfortunate incident at Battersea took place.”

HSE inspectors are currently visiting tower crane manufacturers to discuss health and safety issues. It plans to release its findings to the industry at the end of the financial year in March or April.

The performance report revealed there are at least 80 people alive today who would have died without the improvements made to the construction industry since 1999. However, in that same period 535 workers have died from injuries, most of which were avoidable.

The HSE admits that it is not yet on track to meet its ten-year target to reduce the incidence rate of fatal and major injury be10% between 1999/2000 and 2009/2010. The rate of major injuries had plateaued, but has fallen over the last two years. The rate and number of fatalities are now at the lowest level ever recorded.

Stephen Williams was speaking at the launch of the Health and Safety Commission’s Measuring Up… Performance Report 2006.