Mobile cranes must be fitted with black boxes

Crane operators will be watched more closely in a bid to reduce accidents at construction sites.

From Aug 1, new mobile cranes must be fitted with black boxes that monitor their operation, load weights and safety details. Existing mobile cranes must be fitted with them by Aug 1, 2018.

"It will create a 'big brother' effect and deter unsafe practices," said Mr Mohamed Abdul Akbar, chairman of the National Crane Safety Taskforce, at a Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council conference yesterday.

The data will also aid in the investigation of any accidents.

The new rule comes after a two-year feasibility study and 10 crane-related incidents in the first three months of this year.

Two months ago, a crane toppled over in Potong Pasir and crashed into a neighbour's front yard. Last month, another toppled over at a Jurong worksite.

A recent Manpower Ministry operation saw 236 fines being issued to 55 errant companies for oversights like failing to maintain cranes and lifting gear properly.

The vice-chairman of the Singapore Cranes Association, Mr Jimmy Chua, said crane-related incidents can be caused by a host of factors including an operator's incompetence and poor maintenance of crane structures.

The WSH Council will subsidise up to half of the cost of installing a black box, capped at $5,000 for each crane.

This article was first published on April 15, 2015.
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