Crane safety: 'Black boxes' may be made compulsory

"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 yesterday at the third annual Crane Safety Symposium.

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Here is the full statement from the Ministry of Manpower:

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) took action against 61 companies for crane safety lapses following inspections of 90 workplaces between July and September this year.

Results of Operation Skylark

The inspections were part of "Operation Skylark", an enforcement operation that involved officers from MOM's Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHD). The enforcement operation focused on the safety of crane operations in the construction and manufacturing sectors. The enforcement operation is part of MOM's ongoing enforcement efforts to correct poor Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) practices at various workplaces.

In total, OSHD officers uncovered 189 contraventions of the WSH Act at the workplaces inspected, and issued 107 Composition Fines to 61 companies. OSHD officers also issued 82 Notices of Non- Compliance and two Stop-Work Orders.

Common contraventions uncovered included the failure to maintain cranes in good working condition (47 contraventions), failure to implement safe lifting plans (42 contraventions) and using either defective lifting gears or lifting gears not examined by an Authorised Examiner (28 contraventions). 

Ongoing enforcement efforts

Crane safety remains a high priority for MOM, as the sheer size of cranes and nature of lifting operations mean that crane accidents can have serious consequences for workers and the public. This is especially so for worksites in the vicinity of residential and commercial areas where people live and work. Officers from OSHD conduct enforcement operations throughout the year to enforce safety regulations and engage stakeholders to emphasise the importance of safety.

Speaking on the importance of ensuring that crane operations are carried out safely, Mr Go Heng Huat, Deputy Director, Engineering Safety, OSHD, said: "The recent accidents are a stark reminder that poorly managed crane operations can lead to deaths. Companies must implement safe lifting plans and put in place a robust crane maintenance regime to ensure that crane operations are kept safe for our workers."

Mr Go also reminded companies of their obligations under the WSH Act: "Occupiers and employers must take their obligations to ensure the safety and health of their workers seriously. Companies and individuals alike who are liable for safety lapses can be prosecuted under the Workplace Safety and Health Act."

Results of Operation Skylark:

1 No. of worksites inspected 90
2 No. of companies inspected 90
 Total no. of contraventions uncovered 189
Compostion fines   
 4 Total no. of composition fines 107
 Total no. of companies fined 61 
Notices of Non-compliance   
  No. of Notices of Non-Compliance (NNC) Issued82
Stop-work orders  
 No. of Stop-Work Orders (SWO) Issued  2
 No. of companies issued a SWO 
 Main Contraventions  
 S/N Contraventions No. of Contraventions
1 Failure to Maintain Cranes in Good Working Condition 47
 Failure to Establish and Implement Proper Lifting Plan 42
 Using Defective Lifting Gears or Lifting Gears Not Examined by an Authorised examiner 28
 Using a Crane which Has Not Been Examined by an Authorised examiner 8
5 No Lifting Supervisor Appointed or Work Being Carried Out without a Lifting Supervisor 8