The need for warning systems on cranes involved in driving has come into focus after a tragic accident in Olsvik, Bergen, where a driver died when his lorry with the crane raised collided with a footbridge. The incident has raised questions about the responsibility of employers, manufacturers, and retailers in ensuring the installation of appropriate warning systems on crane trucks. Following an investigation by the Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority, it has been determined that crane trucks imported and built after 2012 must have visible and audible sensors to indicate correct positioning of the crane. The authority is also examining the distribution of responsibilities and will provide clearer guidelines to ensure the safety of crane trucks and prevent similar accidents in the future.
– It is only natural that the crane involved should have a warning system when driving and the crane is up.
This is what Runar Hauge, head of section for the inspection department at the Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority, told NRK.
On 31 July, a driver died when his lorry drove with the crane up into a footbridge in Olsvik in Bergen. The concrete element fell onto the cab.
After the accident, the driver’s employer stated in a press release that both the truck and crane were approved and in positive technical condition.
To NRK has employer informed that the crane has a warning on the outriggers, but that there was no so-called height warning installed on the crane arm. The person concerned confirms this again, but does not wish to comment on this matter further.
After two weeks of work in their specialist department, the Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority can now state the following for crane trucks imported and built after 2012:
– There must be sensors that notify. A warning that is visible and audible from the maneuvering position must indicate whether the crane is correctly positioned, says Hauge.
Examining the distribution of responsibilities
The Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority states that the crane in question is a 2014 model.
– Shouldn’t the factory have installed a warning system?
– We are in the process of investigating how this is connected. The car should have had a warning system. The Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority assumes that it is the employer who is initially responsible for ensuring that the car has what it needs, says Hauge.
– What responsibility lies with the manufacturer and the retailer in Norway?
– Now you are on to what we are investigating, and I am unable to give a concrete answer to that now, says Hauge.
He does not want to go into more details before the inspection report is finished.
NRK has been in contact with the company that should have had the crane truck for annual approval. They point out that the case is under police investigation and do not want to comment now.
Announces clear guidelines for the control of crane trucks
Furthermore, the supervisory authority will follow up NRK’s case that crane controllers sound the alarm about own industry:
- It is not always the case that crane trucks have installed warning systems on both the crane arm and the support legs of the crane, even if they are supposed to.
- Installed alarms do not always work.
- If this is found out during the annual inspections, there are different practices among inspectors as to what the consequences will be.
– Some give a ban on use, others give a simple notice and let them drive on, said Kai Halvorsen, professional leader in Norwegian crane certification, on 13 August.
Now the Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority announces that they will come up with clearer guidelines, as, among other things, Halvorsen has called for.
– We will follow up suppliers, the certification body and those who carry out the expert inspection of cranes, says Hauge.
The aim is more individual control, and to prevent similar accidents, he says.
This storeroom is owned by crane inspector Kai Halvorsen.
– This is very positive news! It is a dream scenario if they can be so smart. It is important to us that everyone does it equally. There are many incompetent inspectors, he says.
The inspectorate examines the crane truck
The Norwegian Labor Inspectorate is still working on the inspection report after the fatal accident.
They have been on a visual inspection and had several meetings with employers, in collaboration with the Norwegian Road Administration, the National Accident Investigation Board and the police.
Vest police district informs NRK that they are waiting for the examinations of the crane and truck to be completed.
Part of the work is to investigate whether there is sensors on the tap, and if there is the warning system inside the driver’s cabin that makes it visible, according to the Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority.
In inspection reports, the inspectorate can come up with new measures to ensure a safe and sound working environment to avoid new accidents. They can also issue orders to the employer.
Light and sound warning
When it comes to the requirement for notification on the crane, Hauge refers to the European standard “EN 12999”, which was introduced in 2012.
It states that there must be both a light and sound warning on both the crane arm and the support leg for the crane on crane trucks.
The Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority’s specialist department has spent two weeks finding out that this industry standard is also legally binding in Norway.
– We had to do it thoroughly. It was about regulations sanctioned in 2015, and whether they have had retroactive effect on this standard, says Hauge
Start of school without footbridge
After the accident has several requested measures to prevent similar incidents.
SV and Venstre have said that they will introduce notification requirement also in older crane trucks which came to Norway before the European norm was introduced in 2012.
Last week it was the start of school in the neighborhood where the fatal accident happened.
The footbridge the crane truck was driving on is partially gone and closed, and traffic wardens have been deployed to ensure safety when the schoolchildren are crossing the nearby footpath.
The municipality has announced that they will lower the speed limit, create speed bumps and raise the footpath.
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