The horrific Canary Wharf crane collapse in May 2000 sent shockwaves through the industry.
In an incident that is still being probed by the courts, three workers were killed, including one who was decapitated, illustrating exactly how dangerous these pieces of machinery can be.
Alarmingly, this week another crane collapsed in Liverpool – the third major incident in four months, resulting in another gruesome site fatality.
So today we are launching Building’s Safer Skyline campaign, calling for the industry to clean up its act to ensure that such catastrophic failings do not happen again.
Just before Christmas, a member of the public was killed in at a Barratt development in Battersea, south London. The message at the time from Andrew Linton, the local MP, and the local community was loud and clear – they would not tolerate this kind of safety failing putting the wider public at risk. And who can blame them, given incidents like the one on Willmott Dixon’s site in 2005, when a crane collapsed at a school building. The children who attended it were saved by sheer luck.
Specifically, we want the Health and Safety Executive to launch a major blitz on sites to ensure that the tight regulations governing the use of tower cranes in the UK are adhered to.
Anecdotal evidence points to the use of untrained banksmen and cranes that are old or poorly maintained. This has to stop.
Linton suggested having a public register of checks carried out on tower cranes in a local area to ensure the public’s mind is put at rest.
We welcome this kind of thinking and throw the debate over to you on this style of self-regulation, before it is forced on us through legislation and, more importantly, before more people die – whether construction workers or members of the public.
Denise Chevin is the editor of Building