This consultation sought views on how a statutorily-based register of tower cranes should be established. The Consultation Document (CD) set out proposals for a set of regulations that would require employers to notify HSE of certain information about any conventional tower crane they used in their work on a construction site. The consultation also sought views on the administrative arrangements for the notification of the required information to HSE and on access to the information then placed by HSE on the register.
Consultation on these proposals began on 13 July and ended on 16 October. In addition to making the CD available to any interested party via the HSE website, over 120 stakeholder organisations in construction and other relevant sectors were approached directly for a response.
In all, 100 responses were received by the time consultation closed. Of these, 87 responded by answering the questions set by the questionnaire in the CD. The remainder submitted other responses - some questioning the need for the new Regulations or suggesting other actions to improve the safety of tower cranes. Respondents included construction contractors (22 responses), consultants (13), trade associations (11), tower crane owner/hirers (7), clients (7), non-governmental organisations (6), and trade unions (5). Very few responses were received from sectors other than construction.
74 respondents agreed to their responses being made public, while 26 wished theirs to be confidential. A list of publicly available responses can be found below along with details of how to gain access to their responses which have been lodged with HSE's Knowledge Centre.
A summary of the responses to each of the questions raised in the CD is set out below. Except where specifically stated, the numbers and percentages included below relate to the 87 respondents who responded to the questions in the CD - not the total 100 responses.
This asked whether consultees agreed that the aims and criteria set out in the CD were appropriate and provided a sensible basis for setting up the register. Responses showed substantial agreement: 55 (63%) agreed fully and 21 (24%) partly agreed. Around 15% of all respondents challenged the need for a register and the assumption that it would bring health and safety benefits (some of these nevertheless went on to give their considered view on other questions).
Consultees were asked whether the requirement to notify details about tower cranes should be limited to conventional tower cranes. The response showed no clear consensus: 42 (48%) respondents fully agreed, while 13 (15%) partly agreed and 32 (37%) did not agree. Many of those not fully agreeing thought that the scope should be extended to self-erecting tower cranes, reasoning that the public would not be able to distinguish between different types of crane and that self-erecting cranes presented similar risks to conventional tower cranes. Those taking this view included 80% of the trade union interests and 36% of the contractors, plus a major grouping of crane owners/hirers though it felt that extending the requirement to notify should be limited to towed self-erecting tower cranes since these tended to remain on-site for significant periods of time.
This asked whether the requirement to notify details about tower cranes should be limited to construction sites. Again, the response showed no clear consensus: 33 (38%) fully agreed with the limitation and 11 (13%) partly agreed with the reasons for limiting the requirement. But 42 (48%) disagreed - a group which included 68% of contractors and 60% trade union interests arguing that tower cranes carry the same risks wherever they are installed. As noted above, very few responses were received from sectors other than construction.
Views were sought as to whether the stand-alone Regulations proposed provided the clearest and most practicable vehicle for presenting the duty to notify and fitting it to existing legal requirements. Here, there was broad consensus that it did. 59 (68%) respondents fully agreed, while 14 (16%) partly agreed and 12 (14%) disagreed. Those that disagreed thought it would be better if the requirements were incorporated into either the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) or the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM).
Consultees were asked whether they agreed with the proposals which placed the duty to notify HSE on the employer using tower cranes on construction sites. 54 respondents (63%) - a clear majority - fully agreed, while 19 (22%) partly agreed and only 13 (15%) disagreed. A significant minority of respondents thought greater clarity was needed as to who exactly had the duty to notify given that there are often several employers on a construction site who might be involved in the use of tower cranes. Some agreed that this could be done through supporting guidance as proposed in the CD while others thought that the Regulations themselves should be clearer.
This asked whether consultees agreed that notification of the required information should be sent within 14 days of the thorough examination required by LOLER. 52 (60%) respondents fully agreed, while 15 (17%) partly agreed and 18 (21%) did not agree. Those that disagreed (including some contractors and trade union interests) generally thought the period should be less than 14 days.
Views were sought on the proposed period of 28 days within which tower cranes already in use at the time the Regulations come into force should be notified. 55 (63%) respondents - a clear majority - fully agreed, while 10 (11%) partly agreed and 21 (24%) did not agree. Those that disagreed (including some contractors and trade union interests) thought the period should be less.
The proposed trigger-point for notification was the thorough examination of the crane. However, the proposals did not provide for notification of a tower crane if, following its installation, there was a significant delay before it was thoroughly examined; this circumstance occurred so rarely in practice that such provision was considered unnecessary. Nevertheless, consultees were asked if the Regulations should include such a provision. 61 (70%) respondents thought that such a provision should be included - on the basis that, once a tower crane is installed, it presents a risk, whether or not it had been thoroughly examined, and should be included on the register for public reassurance.
This asked for views on the information which would need to be notified to HSE under the proposals. 43 (49%) respondents fully agreed that the proposals struck the right balance to be sufficiently informative without being burdensome. Most of the 19 (22%) who partly agreed and 24 (28%) who disagreed considered that more information should be collected. Suggestions included information on the competence of crane erectors/dismantlers, defects found during dismantling, age of the crane, working loads and radius of the jib.
The CD set out the arrangements for a tower cranes register in which the notifications sent by employers would be recorded. Notifications sent either electronically or manually would be recorded on a database. 69 respondents - the great majority (79%) - agreed with these arrangements, while 9 (10%) partly agreed and 8 (9%) disagreed.
Views were sought on the approach to administering access to information on the register set out in the CD. 44 (51%) respondents fully agreed that the proposed approach struck the right balance between making as much information as possible readily accessible while restricting any information that may be commercially confidential or out-of-date: 23 (26%) respondents partly agreed while 18 (21%) disagreed. A particular concern expressed was that there should also be a requirement on employers to notify HSE when a crane is dismantled.
This asked for views on the Impact Assessment's (IA) cost benefit assessment of the main policy options for a tower crane register. Of those who responded, 42 (49%) fully agreed, 9 (10%) partly agreed, 18 (21%) did not agree and 17 (20%) did not feel able to respond one way or the other. Some respondents who challenged the need for the register (see Question 1) used the IA to support their argument. There were also some concerns expressed about the estimations of the increased cost should the scope of the Register be extended to self-erecting tower cranes.
This asked for comments on proposals in the CD for charging for each notification to recover the costs to HSE of setting up and maintaining a tower cranes register. There was no consensus in the response to this question: 35 (42%) fully agreed while 13 (16%) partly agreed and 29 (35%) disagreed. An even split was found across some categories of respondent (contractors, consultants) while TU interests were almost fully supportive of charging and clients almost fully against.
These covered such matters as respondees' support or otherwise for the proposals and views on further action (other than the setting up of a register) that they felt needed to be taken to improve the safe use of cranes. The latter included suggestions such as the licensing of crane examiners, ensuring better training and competency of crane operators, use of crane log books and more direct action including more site visits and better monitoring of cranes in use.
HSE's Board discussed the results of consultation at their meeting on 25 November (see Board Paper HSE/09/101).
They agreed that, in relation to most aspects of the proposals, there was either strong support for them or no strong consensus for change. As a result, the Board decided only one substantive change should be made before the proposals are sent to Ministers for their consideration. The Regulations will now require that details about conventional tower cranes are notified to HSE even when there is a significant delay in carrying out the thorough examination following its installation. This change reflects the strong consensus that the Regulations should provide for this circumstance (see Question 8). Other changes to the Regulations have been made but these are not substantive and have been made to clarify the Regulations including the way in which the duty to notify HSE is placed on dutyholders.
The HSE Board also agreed that a fee of £20 for each notification made to HSE should be introduced. Provisions requiring this will be included in the 2010 Fees Regulations.
Name - Company / Organisation
The full responses of those listed above are available on request from HSE's Knowledge Centre, Redgrave Court, Merton Road, Bootle, Merseyside L20 7HS