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Leveraging Technology to Improve Crane Safety in Singapore

Technology to Improve Crane Safety in Singapore

Minister of State for Manpower, Mr Zaqy Mohamad, made the opening address at the Workplace Safety and Health Symposium on Cranes 2020. And one of the main items on his agenda was using technology to enhance the safety of crane operations in Singapore and to prevent serious incidents in the future.

Singapore has experienced high numbers of dangerous occurrences involving crane operations in the past and the Ministry of Manpower and the industry formed the National Crane Safety Taskforce to implement strategies and programmes to reduce crane-related incidents to zero.

The Minister highlighted how the taskforces have enhanced the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) of Operations of Cranes Regulations and developed the Code of Practice on Safe Lifting Operations in Workplaces to raise the industry’s safety standards. The Taskforce has also improved the training curriculum for Lifting Supervisors, Crane Operators and Lifting crew, and introduced a new Lorry Crane Operator course.

He noted that these serious incidents have reduced in number over the years, but a fatal accident in Novena in 2019 reinforced the need to continue efforts in improving crane safety.

Last year, Singapore launched the national WSH 2028 strategies following extensive consultations with tripartite partners. This ten-year plan aims to raise Singapore’s WSH performance to be among the best globally by reducing Singapore’s workplace fatality rate to less than 1.0 per 100,000 workers by 2028.

The three strategies are strengthening WSH ownership, enhancing focus on workplace health and promoting technology-enabled WSH.

Leveraging technology to create safer work environments.

Based on investigations, the main cause of over half of the lorry crane-related dangerous occurrences from 2015 to 2019 was due to the outriggers not fully extended and deployed, resulting in the cranes toppling.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad said that “Technologies such as the Stability Control System (SCS) can detect the position of outriggers and compute the safe zone for crane operations.”

If the crane operator tries to operate the lorry crane beyond the safe zone, the SCS will stop the crane from doing so and bring it back to safety.

The Minister also announced in his speech that six government agencies will sign a Declaration of Commitment later to put in place tender requirements for new and existing lorry cranes to be installed with SCS.

“By encouraging more crane contractors to adopt the technology, we can collectively raise the Workplace Safety and Health standards of the crane industry said Minister of State for Manpower Mr Zaqy Mohamad

Using Data to Improve Planning and Crane Operations

Another technology that has significantly improved crane safety is data loggers, which record key data of crane operations. The data allows worksite occupiers and crane owners to establish root causes of incidents accurately so that companies can better plan and manage their lifting operations safely.

Since August 2018, all mobile cranes in Singapore have been equipped with data loggers.

The Ministry of Manpower has developed a set of practices that companies can adopt to implement a robust management system for safer use of cranes.

It includes downloading and reviewing data from the loggers regularly to identify critical events such as the overloading and bypassing of safety devices and compiling a review report of such events and taking appropriate actions will enable companies to make systemic improvements for safe lifting operations.

This is another example of how the Government in Singapore is finding ways to improve Health & Safety in the Workplace by investing in technology and developing practices that companies can adopt for the safer use of cranes.

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