The WA Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) has issued a safety alert after an incident in which heavy wire lifting slings fell from a crane hook and injured workers.
A crawler-type crane with a 450 t safe working load was being used to position a one tonne head chute cover on a conveyor located 45 m above ground level.
According to the DMP, the crane operator did not have a clear view of the hook or load and was being directed by a rigger at the conveyor head end. Two fitters and three trade assistants were also working in the vicinity.
Two 278 kg wire rope slings were suspended from the crane’s three tonne hook. The load was being slung with two-leg chains shackled to one of the wire rope slings.
Five employees suffered a range of fractures, lacerations and contusions.
The Department said the accident would not have occurred if the crane had been properly positioned to allow free movement. The crane was also not suitable for the lift being performed.
The DMP said the accident also could have been avoided if communication procedures were carried out properly. The crane operator did not hear the rigger’s direction and the rigger failed to confirm his instruction had been received.
The DMP recommends supervisors should ensure that certain small lifts are not incorrectly categorised as “routine.” Specifically designed lift procedures should be carried out.