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Preventing catastrophic failure of luffing jib tower cranes in high winds

Health and Safety Executive - Safety Alert
Department Name: Field Operations Directorate/ Construction Sector
Bulletin No: FOD 2 - 2014
Issue Date: 20 February 2014
Target Audience: Tower crane owners and users, Construction, Engineering, Entertainment and Leisure, HID, Manufacturing, Nuclear, Offshore
Key Issues: Placing luffing jib tower cranes in a safe out of service condition


Following the recent collapse of three luffing jib tower cranes in high winds, HSE is making this information available to tower crane users as supplementary guidance to that contained in BS7121 Part 5:2006, Code of practice for safe use of cranes -Tower cranes. This information is issued without prejudice to any ongoing investigations.

HSE is using this alert to remind those who operate tower cranes that when left unattended in the out-of service condition, luffing jib cranes must be in free slew with the jib at a safe out-of- service radius.


HSE has identified that some tower crane users have not been releasing the slew brake and/or placing the jib at the correct out of service radius, when leaving cranes out of service and unattended.

If luffing jib cranes are left out of service with the slew brake engaged and/or the jib parked at too small a radius, there is a possibility the crane may not be able to weathervane freely in high winds. This could result in very high loadings being placed on the crane with the consequential collapse of the jib or the whole crane.

Action required:

Users must

Relevant legal provisions:


BS7121 Part 5:2006, Code of practice for safe use of cranes -Tower cranes

Construction Plant Hire Association guidance (

Further information:

Health and Safety Executive
FOD CD Cons Policy and Sector Unit
Rose Court
2 Southwark Bridge

General note:

Please pass this information to a colleague who may have or use this equipment.