Health checks for crane operators
Singapore is to require health checks for all crane operators over 50 from April next year, with tougher checks for older operators.
The announcement was one of three initiatives unveiled at the annual Workplace Safety and Health crane safety symposium held yesterday.
Mandatory health checks
The state already requires operators over 60 to have health checks, but the Ministry of Manpower has said that this will be extended to 50 year olds in order to identify early signs of ill health so that steps can be taken to treat and manage the condition. It hopes that this programme will allow operators to remain in their jobs for longer while also helping improve crane safety. The ministry claims that 42 percent of all operators in the state - said to total around 6,400 - are already over 50, with this likely to increase in the next 10 years.
The checks will be required every two years and will fairly standard for those in their 50s and early 60s, the new rules will now require those aged 65 to 70 will be checked annually, while those still working in their 70s will require be a more intensive medical on an annual basis and will also need to be assessed by an occupational therapist.
Simplified mini crane licence
The ministry has also announced plans to simplify the requirements for new operators who only wish to operate mini cranes under five tonnes. From January they will simply have to attend an approved specialist training course, approved by the Commissioner for Workplace Safety and Health, rather than obtain a full crawler crane licence. Any operator holding a full crane licence will continue to be able to operate mini cranes without undergoing further training. The new rules will apply to all mini cranes with a maximum capacity of five tonnes or less.
Crane operator database
Finally the ministry has also stated that its crane operators database, which will list all licensed crane operators, with their work and safety records, will be completed and available from the first half of next year. This will allow contractors or crane rental companies to check out the history of any operator that it is considering hiring and will highlight those who are repeat offenders and probably should not be let anywhere near a crane.