Tighter MOM rules to prevent crane accidents

Tighter MOM rules to prevent crane accidents
PHOTO: REUTERS

Eleven dangerous incidents involving cranes have already been recorded so far this year, compared with 12 cases in the whole of last year.

This has prompted the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to introduce two safety measures to combat this worrying trend.

It is making it compulsory for all mobile cranes to have data loggers to better keep track of things such as maintenance schedules.

All new mobile cranes must have data loggers from August, while existing cranes need to be equipped with them by Aug 1, 2018.

MOM is also making the current demerit system for workplace accidents stricter.

The measures were unveiled on Wednesday by Mr Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower and Education, at the launch of the Construction Safety, Health and Security Campaign at the Employment and Employability Institute.

Mr Osman Adam, 51, a products support manager of crane supply and rental company Tat Hong Holdings, said data loggers can help to boost safety.

"The data loggers record all activities on the crane, such as maintenance schedules, lifting and tracking the weight of loads to prevent overloading," he said.

But it might be hard to install these on existing cranes, he said.

"We have more than 200 cranes and most are involved in projects at the moment; it will be expensive and probably time consuming as well," he added.

Installing a data logger costs at least $10,000 a crane. So the Workplace Safety and Health Council has launched a co-funding scheme to cover up to half the cost, capped at $5,000 per mobile crane.

At Wednesday's event, Mr Hawazi also outlined changes to the demerit points system.

Under the existing system, companies are not barred from hiring new foreign workers when there is a fatal accident.

But under the enhanced system, a company will be barred from hiring new foreign workers for three months after one workplace fatality.

These changes would encourage crane operators to be more careful, said Mr Hawazi.

"We must remember that every worker is someone's spouse, parent or child. As employers, it is our duty to provide a safe and healthy workplace for them," he said.

amoslee@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 19, 2015.
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