WorkCover NSW Safety Alert issued – Dogging and Crane operations

WorkCover NSW has issued another safety alert, this time drawing attention to dogging and crane operations.

The alert was issued after 2 incidents involving doggers who were seriously injured during crane operations where goods were being unsafely craned.

The incident in question during which the 2 doggers were injured happened when a 1.2 tonne I-beam was lowered into a storage position where it rested on its flange on top of timber packers. Unfortunately the I-beam rolled crushing one of the doggers lower legs.

In a separate incident a dogger was walking a load during a pick and carry operation when both legs this time were crushed after being struck by the moving crane.

Both these incidents highlight the risk that is associated with dogging work and the need to address this hazard before workers are placed unnecessarily at risk.

Investigations into these incidents are underway but it is assumed that they were caused due to these possible reasons as suggested by WorkCover NSW:

  • Packers supporting the I-Beam were not level at one end
  • The I-beam possibly had a flange that was too narrow for its height, the chain lifting slings were removed from the I-beam after it was placed on top of the packers
  • The load was not properly secured using tethers.
  • The dogger was walking the load by hand but was not using tagging lines
  • The dogger was possibly not positioned correctly. He could have been positioned on the opposite side of the crane to the driver’s cabin.

WorkCover goes on to explain that most I-beams are more safely stored on their side rather than on the flange, depending on its dimensions.

Employers must also take into consideration the hazards associated with the workplace. For example where a crane must travel with a load over speed bumps and sloped driveways/roadways, the possible movement of the load must be taken into consideration as well as possible instability of the crane. Also remember that humps or slopes may present a tripping and/or falling hazards to doggers which needs to be take into consideration.

Training is also vitally important. Doggers must be adequately trained and supervised. There should also be a sufficient number of workers available to assist with lifting operations. In order to undertake certain lifts, workers must be competent and appropriately licenced with a high risk licence. Remember that additional workers may be needed if there is more than one pick-up or drop-off point that is out of the crane operator’s line of sight.

WorkerCover NSW goes on to explain that whenever the crane operator cannot see the load, there must be a competent dogger assisting him/her to direct the crane and avoid hitting into structures and people.

Cranes have the potential to cause enormous destruction which is why loads should only be manoeuvred into place by competent people.

Before releasing a load once it has landed, ensure that the load is stable and secured before it is detached from the crane.

For the full Safety Alert visit: http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/formspublications/publications/Documents/workcover-news-issue-91-3952.pdf