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CROSS Safety Report

Toppling of precast concrete unit during lifting causes serious injury

Report ID: 642 Published: 1 April 2017 Region: CROSS-UK

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Overview

During a routine lifting exercise of a precast concrete unit, the unit tipped over while a worker was unslinging the top sling points for the unit using a ladder, causing them a serious injury.

Key Learning Outcomes

For precast manufacturers and suppliers:

  • Lifting chains should be fully unhooked and the precast unit stable prior to lifting the chains away

  • It is good practice to review working practices to eliminate or reduce hazards, with a particular focus where there is human interface

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A reporter states that during a routine lifting exercise of a L-shaped precast concrete unit, the unit tipped over while a worker was unslinging the top sling points for the unit using a ladder, causing them a serious injury. As a result of this incident, the reporter's organisation plan to eliminate reoccurrence of this incident by reviewing current working practices by eliminating or reducing the hazard. In particular the human interface element.

According to the reporter, the immediate cause was that the lifting chains were still being unhooked by the worker at the top of the unit when the machine operator lifted the chains away, causing the unit to topple with the worker still at the top.

The reporter's considerations include:

  • Unit shape and configuration: Can the units be designed to allow a wider base/foot, therefore be less top heavy? Can a standard size be implemented? Can the heights be limited, and extensions used (downside is introducing more lifts)?

  • Lifting point connection: Are there remote systems opposed to the conventional clutch arrangement? Magnetic attachment? Vacuum lifting (limited by weight/no fail-safe)? Load release/remote hook clamp is the preferred approach as it prevents the need to work at height, enabling the load to be disconnected from distance at ground level.

  • Weight of units: Would reducing the weight change the stability? Can the units be designed lighter, utilising alternative construction such as foam concrete?

  • Storage/lifting on site: Use of a storage cradle? Delivered to and left on trailer at site reducing lifts? Level storage area, what control measures? Use only cranes to lift units as opposed to excavators?

  • Training: Driver, banksman and design/fabrication training.

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