Industry requests revision of standards to ensure safe operation of cranes and reduce casualties

Press release - 12th June 2012

BSI invites industry to get involved and comment on Drafts for Public Comment

BSI has announced the revision of BS 7121-2:2003 - ‘Code of practice for safe use of cranes - Inspection, testing and examination’ in response to industry’s call for a safer working environment, particularly within the construction sector.

The law says that all lifting operations involving lifting equipment must be properly planned by a competent person; appropriately supervised; and carried out in a safe manner. Cranes and lifting accessories such as slings must be of adequate strength, tested and subject to the required examinations and inspections.

Despite this legislation, since 2001, according to the HSE, there have been 61 accidents involving tower cranes, 9 people have died and 25 have been seriously injured, with poor maintenance being highlighted as the root cause of many of these accidents.

A comprehensive review of the British Standard BS 7121-2:2003 is the industry’s solution to help address these concerns. Working with experts, BSI has split this code of practice for safe use of cranes into 6 sub-parts, to bring more focus on specific types of cranes. This will ensure BS 7121-2 will continue to provide current best practice for the inspection, maintenance and thorough examination of the principle types of cranes used within the UK and overseas. These updates will offer critical guidance for all users and operators of cranes throughout the UK but will also have worldwide applicability.

The standard is currently being developed by influential experts in this field, including the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) and Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA). Also participating on the committee are representatives from the Safety Assessment Federation Ltd (SAFed), Association of Lorry Loaders Manufacturers and Importers (ALLMI) and Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). BSI is also eager to get feedback, comment and input on these Drafts for Public Comment from wider industry sources.

Ian Simpson, HM Principal Specialist Inspector with the Health and Safety Executive, said: “Investigation of incidents has shown that root causes frequently include poor maintenance, inspection and inadequate thorough examination. It is essential that lifting equipment is maintained in an efficient state if it is to be operated safely.”

Shirley Bailey-Wood, Director of Publishing at BSI, said: “BSI continues to revisit and evolve standards to ensure that they are relevant, current and valuable for industry. The desired outcome of these revisions is to reduce the risk of injury and fatalities, and improve operational performance and efficiency, which will ultimately improve the bottom line for businesses using these services.”

All comments received during public consultation on the drafts will be reviewed by the BSI Technical Committee MHE/3/11 ‘Crane safety and testing’ and may be incorporated into the published British Standard.

The current schedule for release of the drafts is as follows:

About BSI

BSI (British Standards Institution) is a global organization that equips businesses with the necessary solutions to turn standards of best practice into habits of excellence. Formed in 1901, BSI was the world’s first National Standards Body and a founding member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Over a century later it continues to facilitate business improvement across the globe by helping its clients drive performance, reduce risk and grow sustainably through the adoption of international management systems standards, many of which BSI originated. Famed for its marks of excellence including the instantly recognizable Kitemark®, BSI’s influence spans multiple sectors including aerospace, construction, energy, engineering, finance, healthcare, IT and retail. With over 70,000 clients in 150 countries, BSI is an organization whose standards inspire excellence across the globe.