This safety alert highlights the risks associated with the use of climbing frames on tower cranes


SafeWork NSW recently responded to an incident where a tower crane climbing frame fell 10 to 12 metres down the tower section of the crane. The climbing frame had been slung from the main hoist of the crane and raised up the tower, to be locked off in preparation to insert tower sections or “jump” the crane. The hoist brake failed to hold the load while in the raised position.

The hydraulic jacking system fitted to the climbing frame was not used by the crane crew.

Action required

Before starting work:

  • ensure a safe system of work is in place based on the manufacturer’s instructions or those of a competent person
  • ensure everyone involved in the task is fully instructed in the system

You should ensure:

  • a documented system is in place specific to operating the climbing frame and jumping the crane. The installation guide for the climbing frame is not generally appropriate for this purpose
  • the climbing frame is moved using the hydraulic jacking equipment provided with the frame
  • any changes made to the documented system are reviewed by a competent person
  • everyone engaged in the process is competent and adequately trained for the task
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