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A crane collapse at a construction site in Bow,  East London yesterday has led to the death of an 85-year-old woman, June Harvey, with a construction worker remaining critically ill in hospital. The victim was described as a "very caring woman" who was "loyal to her family" by her great nephew, Sam Atkinson, 28, who lived with her, alongside his mother. Our thoughts are with the families and all those affected by this tragic accident. 

Construction Safety Campaign can be seen protesting outside the site in Bow,  East London this morning demanding an urgent, full, and complete investigation into the circumstances that led to this accident without there being any delay. The CSC calls for the lessons to be learned and followed up by changes in health and safety law to ensure that similar accidents don’t take place in the future.

The CSC said that our country has a dreadful history in the collapse of cranes which has led to so many deaths:

On 21 June 2017, a crane collapsed in Crewe killing two workers, David Newall, 36, and Rhys Barker, 18, and injuring one other person. On 25 July 2017, it was announced that a third man David Webb, 43 years of age, had now died from his injuries.

On 6 January 2017, a manager at a plant hire firm was jailed for two years over a crane collapse in Glasgow that killed one worker and seriously injured another on 20 June 2012. Garry Currie was killed and Mr Nisbet, a self-employed worker suffered serious head injuries when the collapse happened.

In September 2006 a crane driver, Jonathan Cloke and a member of the public, Michael Alexia were killed from a crane collapse on a Barrett’s Building site in Battersea South West London. This this led to the setting up of the ‘Battersea Crane Disaster Action Group’ and further led to our success of getting the “Conventional Tower Crain Regulations” in 2009 and the registration of cranes This was junked when the Tory Government was returned to power in 2010. Disgracefully, it took ten years for the Battersea crane collapse case to go to court.

We need to bring back the rescinded 2009 Crane Regulations but extend these regulations to include all types of cranes.

Also

  • All Cranes should be subject to testing and inspection by specialist crane companies who are independent of the crane provider and operator companies.
  • There should be a shelf life limitation on each crane after which they must be scrapped.
  • Fatigue of crane drivers and daylight limitations must be considered with restrictions placed on the number of hours of worked
  • Consultation must take place with members of the public that could be affected prior to cranes being used on site.
  • Laws must be put in place so that crane operators or any other construction worker should not fear that by making complaints about lack of safety they could be under the threat of losing their job or and being blacklisted from future employment if they raise health and safety concerns. In addition, companies who have been found guilty of such practise is not allowed to tender for either public or private work.
  • Cranes prior to use on site will have a crane safety erection and operations plan along with a permit to work file which must show: The safety plan for the erection of cranes. Risk assessments and methods of work required from each operation carried out by the crane.
  • Far greater amount of visits by Health and Safety Executive Inspectors to construction sites before, during and after cranes are erected, also visits to the company depots that are used to carry out the tests and maintenance of crane's prior to their delivery to construction sites.
  • Greater attention to the testing and examination of bolts is important as they are the weakest link if not suitable and not tightened properly.
  • Competence of erectors and drivers and checks on the competence of substitute crane drivers.
  • Poster/emergency plans to be on site as well as on a database. These plans must involve the immediate local community.
  • Identification of cranes by numbers on the side of these crane's to be linked to a HSE database of history of these cranes, date of manufacture, amount and type of use, record of any damage to these cranes, any past dangerous occurrence resulting from their operations.
  • Larger fines and the use of corporate manslaughter prosecutions for directors of companies whose failure to provide safe workplaces lead to the deaths and serious injuries of workers and members of the public. 

The UK is one of the worst countries for having tower crane accidents. In the decade before the Crane Register the HSE said there were 60 crane accidents, 9 deaths and 25 serious injuries.

Increasingly, prosecutions by the HSE take an enormous amount of time. This is a callous way to treat bereaved families who not only suffer the totally unnecessary and negligent death of a loved one when they are plunged into many years of legal nightmares.  This must change.

Construction Safety Campaign
07500 169 151

Jul 13, 2020