Accident Advisory: Worker succumbed during gantry crane operations

18 Jul 2019

Ref No: 180719 (2)

UEN: S97SS0046G

Dear Valued ASPRI Members,

Accident Advisory: Worker succumbed during gantry crane operations

Ref: 1920016 WSH Alert Accident Notification dated 3 June 2019

On 26 May 2019 around 2:30pm, a group of workers was tasked to use a gantry crane to assemble a mast section of a tower crane. While using the gantry crane to rotate the partially assembled mast section of the tower crane, the mast section struck one of the workers who was standing nearby. The worker was conveyed to the hospital where he subsequently succumbed to his injuries.


Stakeholders such as occupiers, principals, employers and contractors in control of similar workplaces and work activities are advised to consider the following risk control measures to prevent similar accidents:

Establish lifting plan

  • Establish lifting plans to ensure that the lifting operation can be carried out safely. The lifting plan should take into consideration the following key elements (non-exhaustive):
    • Details of the load to be lifted
    • Details of the lifting equipment/lifting gears used
    • Rigging method
    • Sketch of the lifting zone
    • Personnel involved in the lifting operation
    • Means of communications
    • Physical and environmental considerations
    • Work sequence and special precautions

Safe method of crane assembly

  • Consult the tower crane manufacturer on the required equipment and method for the safe assembly of crane parts (e.g. mast, jib). The crane erector should adhere strictly to the instructions and method provided by the crane manufacturer.

Competent lifting team

  • Appoint the following roles to form the lifting team before carrying out the lifting operation, as necessary:
    • Lifting equipment operator
    • Lifting supervisor
    • Rigger
    • Signalman
  • Ensure that each lifting team member is competent in their respective role(s) and has successfully completed the relevant safety and health training (e.g. “Supervise Safe Lifting Operations” course for lifting supervisors).

Safe lifting operation

  • Cordon off the lifting zone (and any other unsafe zones) to inform and prevent persons who are not involved in the lifting operation from entering the lifting zone.
  • Ensure all lifting gears (e.g. slings, webbings, shackles and chains) are in good condition, to be used within its Safe Working Load (SWL), and meet the requirements stated in Regulation 20 of the WSH (General Provisions) Regulations.
  • Check that each member of the lifting team is in a safe position before starting the lifting operation.


Conduct a thorough Risk Assessment (RA) for all work activities to control any foreseeable risk that may arise when carrying out lifting works. The RA should cover, but is not limited to, the following areas:

  • Development of safe work method in particular for irregular loads that may shift or topple during the lifting operation
  • Adequate communication of the lifting plan and safe work method
  • Identification (and cordoning) of lifting zone from original location of the load to its new destination including unsafe zones that may be created should the load shift or topple
  • Possibility of lifting team members moving into the lifting zone during the lift
  • The importance of on-site supervision to ensure adherence to lifting plan


  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 (Operation of Cranes) Regulations 2011
  5. Code of Practice on Workplace Safety and Health Risk Management
  6. Code of Practice on Safe Lifting Operations in the Workplaces
  7. SS497: 2011 Code of Practice for Design, Safe Use and Maintenance of Gantry Cranes, Overhead Travelling Cranes and Monorail Hoists
  8. SS559: 2010 Code of Practice for Safe use of tower cranes
  9. SS343: 2014 Specification for Lifting Gear – Part 1: Wire rope slings, Part 2: Hooks, Part 3: Shackles
  10. WSH Council’s Guide to Safe use of Overhead Travelling Cranes, Gantry Cranes, Jib Cranes and Hoists
  11. WSH Council’s Guidebook for Lifting Supervisors
  12. Worker’s Safety Handbook for Lorry Crane Operator
  13. Worker’s Safety Handbook for Rigger and Signalman
  14. WSH Council’s 6 Basic WSH Rules for Lifting Operations

Information on the accident is based on preliminary investigations by the Ministry of Manpower as at
04 July 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 any liability on any party nor should it be taken to encapsulate all the responsibilities and obligations under the law.