Accident Advisory: Worker caught between crawler crane and metal barricade

02 Jan 2020

Ref No.: 020120 (2)

UEN: S97SS0046G

Dear Valued ASPRI Members,

Accident Advisory: Worker caught between crawler crane and metal barricade

Ref: 1920068 WSH Alert Accident Notification dated 25 November 2019

On 22 November 2019, around 9am, a worker was caught between the metal barricades and the counterweight of a crawler crane when the crane rotated. The worker was conveyed to the hospital where he subsequently passed away.


Caught-in or caught-between accidents occur when a worker’s body part is caught, crushed, squeezed, compressed or pinched between two or more objects. Persons in control of similar workplaces and work activities such as employers, principals and contractors are advised to consider the following risk control measures to prevent similar accidents:

Site Work Coordination

  • When a number of construction and crane-related activities are carried out concurrently at the same work area, persons in control of the work are required to plan and coordinate their activities so that the work can be safely executed. Work coordination between the contractors/sub-contractors on site is critical to ensure safe crane operation amidst other construction activities.

Hazard Zone Demarcation

  • Cordon off all lifting zones, including work areas and the immediate vicinity surrounding the lifting equipment, to prevent workers from entering danger areas with operating equipment.
  • Install suitable signage to alert workers of the presence of the hazardous work zone and to remind them to stay clear of the area as a precautionary measure.

Safe Work Position

  • Remind workers to be vigilant of operating equipment in their work vicinity and to maintain a safe distance from moving machinery or any machine with moving parts.

Hazard Awareness and Risk Communication

  • Prior to work commencement, brief workers (e.g. during toolbox meetings) on the possible on-site hazards and the safety measures in place, especially when multiple activities are taking place within the same work area.
  • Advise workers to look out for one another and to always keep co-workers within their line of sight. Refer to the WSH Guide to Behavioural Observation and Intervention for insight on how to set up a behavioural safety initiative in your organisation.
  • Establish a suitable means of communication (e.g. via walkie talkie or other mobile devices) so that workers can be better aware of each other’s whereabouts and the potentially hazardous work activities that are taking place.

Near-Miss Reporting

  • Encourage workers to report any unsafe work conditions or near-miss incidents to their supervisor so that these may be addressed before an accident occurs.

Risk Assessment

Employers, principals and contractors are required to conduct a thorough Risk Assessment (RA) for all work activities before their commencement to manage any foreseeable risk that may arise in connection with crane operations at the worksite. The RA should address, but not limited to, the following areas:

Movement and Operation of Equipment or Machinery
As the range of movement of a crane during a lifting operation is expected to be large (e.g. during slewing), workers must be made aware of the risk of being struck by the lifting equipment (or gear) as it moves, or being caught between a moving part and a fixed object at the site. Allow only authorised workers in the vicinity and restrict all others from accessing the hazardous work zone. Brief authorised workers on on-site hazards. The use of proper demarcation, hazard signs and equipment alarms will serve as a good reminder to stay clear of danger areas.

On-site Supervision
Supervisors, equipment operators or the appointed representative(s) should walk around the work area prior to the movement or operation of the equipment or machinery. This will help to ensure that there is no person or obstruction in the vicinity and that it is safe to proceed with the equipment operation. This recommended practice should be documented in safe work procedures and emphasised during toolbox meetings. The use of technology (e.g. presence sensors and cameras) to alert the operator of persons or obstructions in the vicinity may be considered for implementation.

Further Information

  1. Workplace Safety and Health Act
  2. Workplace Safety and Health (Risk Management) Regulations
  3. Workplace Safety and Health (General Provisions) Regulations
  4. Workplace Safety and Health (Construction) Regulations 2007
  5. Workplace Safety and Health (Operation of Cranes) Regulations 2011
  6. Code of Practice on Workplace Safety and Health Risk Management
  7. Code of Practice on Safe Lifting Operations in the Workplaces
  8. CP 79: 1999 Code of Practice for Safety Management System for Construction Worksites
  9. Singapore Standard SS 536: Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Mobile Cranes
  10. WSH Guide to Behavioural Observation and Intervention
  11. WSH Guide to Near Miss Reporting
  12. WSH Council’s Guidebook for Lifting Supervisors
  13. WSH Council’s Worker’s Safety Handbook for Rigger and Signalman
  14. WSH Council’s Toolbox Meeting Kit

Information on the accident is based on preliminary investigations by the Ministry of Manpower as at 18 December 2019. This may be subject to change as investigations are still on-going. Please also note that the recommendations provided here are not exhaustive and they are meant to enhance workplace safety and health so that a recurrence may be prevented. The information and recommendations provided are not to be construed as implying liability on any party nor should it be taken to encapsulate all the responsibilities and obligations under the law.