Maintenance and inspection of slew brake release mechanisms
Ongoing HSE investigations into incidents involving the collapse of tower crane jibs has highlighted the importance of maintaining and inspecting tower crane slew brake release mechanisms.
Emerging findings indicate that brake operational efficiency was “compromised by lack of maintenance, in particular, insufficient lubrication of the slew brake release mechanism”.
HSE has now issued Safety Alert FOD 5-2014 – Tower crane slew brakes.
The alert provides supplementary information to Safety Alert FOD 2-2014 – Preventing catastrophic failure of luffing jib tower cranes in high winds.
Action required tower crane owners and users
The Safety Alert requires that:
“Owners and users of tower cranes should ensure that tower crane slew brake release mechanisms are inspected and maintained in line with instructions issued by the manufacturer. Where crane manuals do not stipulate release mechanism maintenance instructions the manufacturers should be asked to provide details.
Instruction should be provided to operators and maintenance personnel as to how slew brake release mechanisms should be checked, inspected and maintained. This should include information, where necessary, as to the type of lubrication and the frequency and method of applying lubrication to the release mechanism.
Supervisory checks should confirm that personnel are correctly carrying out their instructions and the crane is being placed in free slew when left out of service. Persons carrying out Thorough Examinations should also confirm the correct function of the slew brake release mechanism.”
Author; HSE (Health and Safety Executive)