September 26, 2016

A crane has left three workers hanging by just their safety harnesses after it collapsed on top of a North Sydney building.

New South Wales Fire and Rescue Inspector Ron James stated that emergency services were called in to the scene on Arthur Street at 11:30am.

On arrival, we found the boom of the crane was hanging over the side of the building with three people hanging inside the boom,” Inspector James said.

“With the help of Ambulance Special Operation and Police Rescue, Fire and Rescue NSW removed those persons, using a rescue bucket.

“I believe one had serious injuries.”

Inspector James said the other two men had superficial injuries.

NSW Police reported three men, aged 24, 27 and 38, had been “attached by lanyard and trapped for a short time”.

It was believed the workers were in the process of dismantling the crane when the accident occurred.

“I couldn’t tell if they were inside the boom, or on top of the boom, but they were somewhere on the swinging boom of the crane when it collapsed into the building which is the arm of the crane, the bit that hangs out of the crane, with the wire hanging off the end.”

“They were 20 levels up, so it was quite high and they were hanging on the crane because it was in a vertical position, at least 60 metres above the ground.”

Inspector James said the men were “very lucky” to be alive, “thank heavens they had their harnesses on”.

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He said the boom of the crane was quite mangled and would now have to removed.

A police statement said all three were taken to Royal North Shore Hospital with various injuries, which are not considered to be life-threatening.

“Police have been told three workers were inside the crane when it malfunctioned, collapsed and hit a concrete wall,” the statement said.

“The 24-year-old man managed to release himself and climbed to safety on the roof of the building.

“Other workers lowered a metal box using a second crane to assist the other men.

“The pair were released and lowered to the ground.”

Engineers will attend and assess the site and SafeWork NSW will investigate the incident. SafeWork NSW Executive Director Peter Dunphy said there would be a thorough investigation.

“There’s a few facts that we’re looking at at the moment, firstly we’ll be looking at the controls that were in place by the principal contractor, which is Meriton,” Mr Dunphy said.

“We’d also be looking at the procedures that were in place for the crane operator which was Titan Cranes and Rigging and we’d be looking through their safe systems of work.”

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