Falls from height are the biggest cause of death in the British workplace, according to the HSE, and the tower crane industry has witnessed five fatalities within the sector in recent years.

The HSE reported positive feedback from a blitz on 21 companies within the mobile crane industry earlier this year.

It said the companies that were inspected responded well and a similar response is expected by members of the tower crane industry.

The Construction Plant-hire Association’s (CPA’s) Tower Crane Interest Group (TCIG) has applauded the initiative. TCIG chairman Paul Phillips told Cranes Today: “The tower crane industry has a lot of catching up to do with mobile cranes in terms of health and safety.”

Phillips said he takes health and safety seriously after he lost three employees as the managing director of Hewden Tower Cranes at the infamous Canary Wharf crane collapse in London, UK in May 2000.

The rental rates of tower cranes have been low in recent years, which has starved hire companies of the necessary cash to renew their fleets. But Phillips says this is improving.

He said: “It’s an encouraging time for the UK tower crane market. Rental rates are improving, which doesn’t mean they’re just making lots of money but it allows them the freedom to renew old cranes.” He added: “Some tower cranes on the market are too old.”

The HSE is expected to visit both company headquarters and job sites in order to audit health and safety management and cranes in operation.

“It shouldn’t be a difficult job because there aren’t many tower crane companies to inspect in the UK,” Phillips concluded.