Safer lifting operations
Failures of lifting operations account for a high proportion of fatal and serious incidents on major construction projects. Operations using tower and mobile cranes were widespread across London 2012 projects.
The collapse of a crane is a dramatic and catastrophic event but the more common incidents arise from unintended movement or falling of loads. These hazards can be managed through imaginative design, detailed planning and safe systems of work carried out by competent and well-briefed teams.
HSE inspectors encountered some excellent work to achieve the highest standards. These included:
- connection design - awkward or difficult work at height was avoided by the design of connection points that could be reached safely;
- advance planning - many lifting operations were planned well in advance using computer-generated images showing sequences of erection, etc.;
- centres of gravity - calculated at fabrication and marked on the steel;
- lifting points - provided and taking into account centres of gravity especially when lifting eccentric loads;
- pre-slinging - sections of steel work were pre-slung in a more manageable environment before delivery to site thereby reducing the risk of unsafe slinging; and
- team briefings - all those involved in lifting operations were briefed on the tasks in full before each operation.