WorkCover NSW recently issued a safety alert for employers and those who control railway construction sites to keep workers clear of crane loads that are under tension.
In a recent incident, it noted that workers were replacing railway tracks and concrete sleepers with a pre-assembled switch track panel, when rails sprang from the partially suspended panel. One worker died and four others were seriously injured.
A number of clips that held the existing rails in place on the concrete sleepers were removed before sliding the rails of the pre-assembled panel back to correct the misalignment.
“Although the switch track panel load was touching the ground at the time of the incident, most of its weight was suspended by a mobile crane,” said WorkCover NSW in the safety alert.
“When a number of the clips were removed the rails sprang from the panel, striking some of the workers who were on the panel.”
WorkCover NSW said employers must ensure crane loads are secured before lifting, not lifted over workers, not ridden and that no worker is positioned on a load when that load is under tension, and kept clear of workers when load is suspended or under tension.
“Only competent persons such as dogmen and riggers are allowed to work near a crane load that is under tension or suspended and they must have control of such a load at all times,” said WorkCover NSW.
“The crane operator must not leave the crane unattended when a load is attached to the crane and under tension.”