A crane is seen next to Har Homa in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Scientists at Haifa’s Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have suggested a way to map out patterns of near-miss accidents involving cranes at building sites that they say can serve government authorities and insurance companies, as well as construction businesses.
“The construction industry is responsible for the highest number of fatal work accidents in the country and the world,” Dr. Gabriel Raviv, a civil engineer with three decades of experience, wrote in a paper published in the journal Safety Science.
“Out of 54 people killed in work accidents in Israel last year, 34 of them were in the construction industry,” wrote Raviv, as part of his doctoral dissertation at the Technion’s faculty of civil and environmental engineering, under the supervision of Prof. Aviad Shapira and Dr. Barak Fishbain.
It is customary to compare countries on the number of deaths per 100,000 workers in the industry; in Israel, this ratio stands at around 12, compared to only 9.5 in the US and two in the UK. “This comparison indicates great potential for improvement,” the study said.
They found that technical failures are the most hazardous factors in the tower-crane work environment. Learning lessons from near-miss reports is a well-known procedure in various high-hazard industries, they wrote. But in many cases, the difference can be described as just “luck.”
The study defined the interactions between the human factor and technical factors in crane accidents.
The construction industry tends to adopt near-miss management systems, but the procedure is relatively new and has not yet been fully explored or understood.
Although the management of near-miss reporting systems in construction has been investigated before, no effort appears to have been made to suggest a methodology for technically investigating the content of near-miss reported events, they continued.
The researchers began by collecting data on 240 accidents and near misses that were qualitatively analyzed to form an incident database.