Tower cranes are an indispensable part of modern high rise construction, however, while reliable and robust, they carry significant hazards.
These hazards include:
- falling objects
- structural collapse
- contact with objects, including powerlines
- difficult access for treating or rescuing injured workers.
Crane owners, others with management or control of the crane, those performing maintenance and onsite managers (usually the principal contractor) have obligations under the work health and safety legislation. The following information outlines these obligations and provides guidance.
Tower crane safety campaign 2019
Between June and November 2019, SafeWork NSW inspectors undertook focused crane checks on every site they visited where a tower crane was in operation. Inspectors checked compliance and talked with supervisors, operators and doggers about safe slinging and load movements to ensure the protection of workers and the public
To ensure safe slinging and load movement, you should:
- avoid lifting or moving suspended loads over the heads of workers or the public
- have appropriate controls in place to manage the risks of falling objects
- ensure loading zones are protected from unauthorised access
- check operators, doggers and riggers hold the appropriate high risk work licence
- ensure inexperienced or new operators are adequately supported or supervised.
See our findings from 2019 in our Tower Cranes report.
For further information contact us on 13 10 50.
Item and design registration
Plant with a high level risk of harm associated with its operation, use or maintenance, must be registered by the owner, lessee or controller of the plant. Tower cranes require both design and item registration.
Inspection and maintenance
There are specific laws regarding the major inspection and maintenance of tower cranes.
High risk work licence
A high risk work licence is required for certain types of work, including tower crane operation.
SafeWork NSW inspectors will take part in a crackdown on crane operators on construction sites across the state as part of a six-month blitz aimed at increasing safety in the industry.
This alert provides guidance to designers, manufacturers, suppliers, installers, operators, and persons with control of sites on how to minimise the risk of falls when using tower cranes.
This alert highlights the risks associated with erecting, climbing or dismantling a tower crane and the action required by all PCBUs involved in this work.
This position paper outlines the expectations in relation to the matters raised by the Coroners in relation to the tower crane fire and collapse at Broadway in 2012 and the death of a crane operator at North Sydney in 2014.
Guide to tower cranes
Safe Work Australia's guide to tower cranes provides information on siting, erecting and using tower and self-erecting tower cranes.
Duties of principal contractors
This guide provides a summary of principal contractor duties in relation to a tower cranes.
This list of critical faults is intended to assist crane crews and those with management or control of operating tower cranes.
These key messages were identified following the November 2012 crane fire at Broadway in Sydney. They are relevant to manufacturers and suppliers, but may help crane crews or persons with management or control to work with crane companies to address site issues.
Tower crane maintenance will make your site safer and prevent costly delays.
Mobile communication devices
Using mobile communication devices while operating (or working near) tower cranes can cause distraction. This document outlines the risks and how you can stay safe.
- Australian Standard AS 1418.1-2002/Amdt 1-2004 Cranes, hoists and winches general requirements
- Australian Standard AS1418 Part 4 Cranes, hosts and winches – tower cranes
- Australian Standard AS 2550.1-2011 Cranes, hoists and winches-safe use-general requirements
- Australian Standard AS 2550.4-2004 Cranes, hoists and winches - safe use - tower cranes
- Risks of falls when using tower cranes
- Tower cranes - critical faults
- Tower cranes - key message to industry