Report by Liliana Alexa
Battersea Crane Disaster Action Group has won the fight to change the law around crane safety.
Following the collapse of a tower crane in Battersea in September 2006 which killed 2 men, a community and trade union campaign was launched to call for a change in the law surrounding tower cranes.
After a hard fought, award winning campaign new regulations around tower crane safety will now come into force on the 6th April which include the registration of all conventional tower cranes.
Employers will now have responsibility to notify the health and safety executive of the site address of the crane and the name and address of the owners of the crane. This will have to be followed up with an examination of the crane within a 14 day period before the crane can be put to use.
The Battersea Crane Disaster Action Group, which was initiated by Battersea and Wandsworth TUC unified the local community in Battersea, bereaved family members and the trade unions to bring the issue of crane safety to the public and campaign for change to prevent further deaths.
Poor health and safety surrounding tower cranes has led to the death of at least 8 people since 2000. According to the Health and Safety executive, the new law will now go a long way to ensuring this isn’t repeated.
Liliana Alexa, whose son Michael Alexa, 23, was killed by the crane whilst cleaning his car welcomed the news of the change in the law.
She said; “I am very, very happy to hear about the crane register becoming law, I welcome anything that leads to improved health and safety legislation.
“But too many people are still being killed and hurt on building sites, these people usually get paid around £7-10 an hour to risk their lives and their safety on a daily basis, its just not worth it, but where else are they meant to work? They are then told to keep quiet if they hear or see anything on site which contradicts good health and safety practice.
“Just before Christmas a young man was killed on the Olympics construction site in Westfield, London. When will these deaths stop? They are unnecessary and preventable. Workers need to join together in trade unions to ensure that employers take health and safety seriously.
“My son didn’t work on a site, he was just out cleaning his car on the street, an innocent bystander, yet if health and safety surrounding tower cranes had been taken more seriously he may still be here today. I do not want another mother to go through what I have and so I hope that this register will help prevent more deaths n the future. This register must be used alongside workers on sites being organised and able to stand up to their employers when they see something that is not right.”