Crane collapses are a big deal. Not only do they cause property damage, but can often lead to injury and death. In the past few years, there has been no shortage of crane accidents making headlines.
Seattle crane collapse
One of the most recent was the Seattle crane collapse in April 2019, which killed four people. The tower crane that worked on the new Google Seattle campus collapsed, killing two iron workers on the construction site and two people driving past the construction site.
After the investigation, experts concluded that the bolts and pins were removed too early when the crane was dismantled. This, together with strong winds, led to the crane’s collapse. In October 2019, Washington State investigators concluded that workers were not following the manufacturer’s instructions and that the accident was preventable.
The general contractor, construction workers and crane supplier were fined for the accident. A USA Today story from October 2019, the general contractor said: GLY construction, was fined $ 25,000 while the construction workers were fined $ 12,000. Murrow Equipment Co., the crane supplier, was fined $ 70,000 for failing to ensure that instructions were followed as an on-site expert.
What is disheartening is that during the investigation, experts said removing bolts and pins early to expedite crane disassembly is becoming a more common practice. Hopefully the Seattle accident will convince contractors that this is not always a best practice.
Dallas crane collapse
Just a few months later, in June 2019, another fatal crane collapse occurred in Dallas. In this accident, a construction crane fell on a residential building and a parking garage in a heavy storm with strong winds. One person was killed and at least five others were injured.
In December 2019, OSHA cited crane owner Bigge Crane and Rigging Co. for two serious violations related to the accident. Bigge faced a $ 26,520 fine. The OSHA investigation found no cause for the breakdown or the allegation of who was to blame. Other cranes in the area held strong during the same storm in June.
According to a report by NBCDFW, the OSHA quote claims that Bigge failed to complete an inspection of the crane the day before the collapse. The quote also claims Bigge failed to “remove rusty screws and address the deterioration of structural tower elements”.
However, a crane expert said that surface rust had nothing to do with this crane collapse.
New York mini crane accident
It’s not just the big tower cranes that can collapse and cause deaths. In June 2018, an unsecured mini crane tipped over and fell four floors on a New York construction site. When the crane fell, the boom hit two workers and seriously injured them.
In January 2019, OSHA quoted Western Waterproofing Co. Inc. – – Doing Business as Western Specialty Contractors – – for employee exposure to serious injuries on the construction site. Western Specialty Contractors faced fines of $ 155,204. The OSHA press release states: “OSHA quoted Western for failing to ensure that the person hired to operate the crane has been trained, assessed, and found competent to operate the equipment; to operate the crane beyond its rated lifting capacity; and because it was not checked that the lifted load was within the rated lifting capacity of the crane. “
T.The Manhattan Attorney’s Office has also filed the charges Project manager and superintendent of the company in connection with the incident. Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick D. Chandler, PE, said: “This has been one of the most appalling vulnerabilities in recent history: the regulators of this website should be responsible for security, but instead they have started a ruthless and potentially fatal chain of events. Their stubborn disregard of the safety rules in combination with a wildly overwhelmed mini crane almost killed several workers. “
Crane accident statistics
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) From 2011 to 2015, the Census of Fatal Accidents at Work (CFOI) recorded a total of 220 crane-related deaths. During the same period, 42% of fatal accidents at work with cranes occurred in the private construction industry. Specialist retailers as well as heavy and civil engineering had the deadliest injuries with cranes in private construction.
In 2019, OSHA recorded 16 crane accidents resulting in injury or death among employees who work or work near cranes. These OSHA statistics do not account for injuries or deaths to non-employees. In 2018, 58 crane accidents were on the OSHA list.
Crane safety tips
So what can be done? Construction and crane operations are inherently dangerous jobs. Obviously, a more vigilant focus on safety and proper operation is the best place to start to reduce crane collapses and accidents.
Here are some of the top OSHA crane safety tips:
- Cranes may only be operated by qualified and trained personnel.
- A designated competent person must do the Crane and all crane controls before use.
- Make sure the crane is on a firm / stable surface and Level.
- Do not unlock or during assembly / disassembly Unless the sections are blocked and secure, remove the pins (stable).
- Do not exceed the load chart capacity during manufacture Elevators.
- Do not move loads over workers.
- Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s signals and instructionsduring the operation of cranes.
There are many other resources available for crane safety. Take a look at the list of resources available here:
Improper rigging and crane safety
Crane safety checklist
OSHA Crane Safety QuickCard
Crane safety is not an accident
Crane overloading is not safe
Crane Safety – Weather Conditions
Cranes and derricks under construction