Thursday, November 12, 2009

WSH Alert – Fall from Height - WSH Bulletin

11 Nov 09


In a recent accident, a worker fell to his death while climbing the turntable ladder to the crane cabin of a tower crane. The lifeline was terminated at the top mast, and the worker had removed his safety harness when climbing from the turntable to the cabin. While he was ascending the turntable ladder, the worker slipped and fell onto the mast platform 6 m below.

Fig 1: Height of worker’s fall

Fig 2. The turntable ladder to the cabin


1. Conduct risk assessment before starting any work: Identify potential hazards and take appropriate actions to eliminate the hazards or reduce the risks involved. For this incident, the hazards include the failure to don proper Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). The risk assessment should also include non-routine or emergency situations so that measures can be adopted to minimise the risks for such situations.

2. Put in place an effective workplace safety and health management programme: Employers should establish and implement a Safety and Health policy, and safety management system with proper control measures and safe work procedures. This includes a fall protection plan for any work that may involve workers falling from a height. The safety and health programme must be clearly communicated to all levels of personnel, such as through refresher courses or daily tool box meetings.

3. Safe access on tower cranes: To prevent falls, employers must provide safe access for crane operators and other persons who need to carry out inspection and maintenance work on a tower crane. Safe access (ladders with hoop guards) to the operator’s cabin should include rest-landings at every interval not exceeding nine metres of the mast. If a mast has a continuous vertical ladder for access, an effective fall-arrest system that does not require the person to constantly hook on and off must be provided.

4. Issue appropriate PPE: Workers must be issued the appropriate PPE, such as full body harness that is securely anchored (through lanyard, shock absorbers and hook) at all times to protect against accidental falls. Additional lifeline should be employed specifically for the turntable to prevent falls. The workers must be trained on the safe and proper use of the PPE.

5. Ensure proper supervision: Employers should ensure that workers adhere to the established safe work procedures, e.g. by ensuring that workers follow the fall protection plan when working at height and disciplining workers who exhibit unsafe acts and do not comply with the safe work procedures.

Further Information

1. Workplace Safety and Health Act, please click here.

2. Factories (Operation of Cranes) Regulations.

3. Workplace Safety and Health (Construction) Regulations, please click here.

4. Singapore Standard CP 62 – Safe Use of Tower Cranes.

5. Singapore Standard SS 528 – 1: 2006 Personal Fall Arrest Systems - Full-body harnesses.

6. Singapore Standard SS 528 – 2: 2006 Personal Fall Arrest Systems - Lanyards and energy absorbers.

7. Singapore Standard SS 528 – 3: 2006 Personal Fall Arrest Systems - Self-retracting lifelines.

8. Singapore Standard SS 528 – 5: 2006 Personal Fall Arrest Systems - Connectors with self-closing and self-locking gates.

9. ProBE Technical Advisory on Working At Height, please click here.

* Please note that the information provided is intended to enhance workplace safety and health so that a similar recurrence may be prevented, and is not exhaustive. The information provided should not to be construed as implying any liability to any party nor should it be taken to encapsulate all the responsibilities and obligations of the reader of WSH Alert under the law.


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