WorkSafe New Zealand warns companies that it is unacceptable to allow employees to operate cranes and other machinery without direct supervision or appropriate training.

The warning comes after a fatal incident in Christchurch in January 2019.

An employee of Glaziers Choice Limited, trading as Stake Glass, was crushed by a pack lifter crane device attached to a 2.5 ton glass package.

The overhead crane was controlled via a handheld remote control and the employee climbed onto the packing lifter to hang the crane hook on it.

WorkSafe’s investigation revealed that the victim who was trained to operate the crane was temporarily using it without direct supervision and was completely unsupervised at the time of the incident. The company also had a general and incomplete health and safety system and its risk record was inadequate.

The investigation also found that crane equipment should not remain attached to a load.

WorkSafe Area Investigation Manager Steve Kelly says this situation could have been avoided completely if the employee had been properly supervised during the training and the pack lifter had been stored with no load attached.

“This is a situation that increases the need for proper health and safety systems. Employees who are not qualified to use machines must be effectively supervised. “

WorkSafe reminds companies and employees that the unsafe use of crane equipment can pose a significant risk to people and property. WorkSafe provides a number of resources for companies using cranes, including an approved code of conduct – Cranes | Safe at work.

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