Crane safety: 'Black boxes' may be made compulsory

Crane safety: 'Black boxes' may be made compulsory
Deputy director Mohd Ismadi from MOM’s Occupational Safety and Health Division checking the hook of a crane during an inspection at a MacPherson Road site on Monday.

"Black boxes" may be made compulsory for some cranes to improve safety in an industry that has been dogged by accidents.

A government pilot trial of black boxes, or data loggers which record a crane's movements, comes amid a spate of serious accidents and scores of crane safety breaches.

The use of these devices could prompt crane operators to take more care as they know their work is being monitored, said experts.

The devices could also be used to probe crane accidents, similar to the way aircraft black boxes are used.

The most recent crane tragedy here was the National Art Gallery tower crane collapse that killed two workers earlier this month.

And dangerous practices persist, with 61 firms from 90 sites inspected fined for crane safety lapses in recent Ministry of Manpower (MOM) surprise inspections.

The data loggers record information such as a crane's load and actions taken by the operator.

To encourage greater adoption of these devices, MOM started a pilot at three sites last month.

"MOM plans to complete the pilot trial some time at the end of the year and may consider making data loggers mandatory for certain cranes based on findings of the pilot trial," said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower and Education Hawazi Daipi on Tuesday at the third annual Crane Safety Symposium.

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