Tuesday, December 30, 2008

December 30th 2008

Hunan Province China. A tower crane collapsed into a hotel parking lot killing 3 and injuring 5. All cranes in the district were shut down and ordered to be inspected. As usual I am unable to find pictures at this time from a Chinese accident. 

Monday, December 29, 2008

December 29th 2008

New York NY,

The corruption problems in New York continue. Those of us in the US know that Chicago and New York are largely run by those whom have no respect for ethics. Yesterday's story of Michael Carbone having been an employee of James Lomma then making decisions about the suitability of repairs performed by him is an example of questionable ethics. I would suggest that in a case where an engineer (Bethany Klein http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2008/11/17/2008-11-17_she_warned_of_crane_disaster_buildings_d.html
 has raised a question in regards to the performance of a repair, the final decision on the repair should be made by someone without ties personally or professionally to the person or company that will be impacted. It's possible that Mr. Carbone was acting as ethically as he knew how, but this is exactly why judges recuse themselves. New York not only needs an overhaul of it's crane and elevator programs, it needs an overhaul of all of it's ethics. The nepotism is rampant and now resulting in the death of people.   

December 29th 2008

Sydney Australia 
A hotel in Sydney was evacuated after concern was raised about the stability of the crane. Upon review the crane was declared safe. I've heard of this coming up a few times in the last year. Cranes have back moment towards the counter jib side, no matter what direction the crane is swung over. Many maximum free standing cranes could lean off of center line plumb up to two feet due to the ductility of the steel. Cranes need to be erected in the US to a tolerance of 1 inch for every 40 feet of vertical, but the weight difference between the counter jib and ballast versus the jib's unloaded weight causes it to lean back. It's good that people are observant enought to notice this but rather than raising the red flag and running away it might be prudent to verify the deflection with a instrument such as a theodolite and the manufacturer's advice. Take a paper clip, straighten it out, hold it straight up and down and bend it a milimeter out of straight and let it go. It returns to vertical and that is an example of ductility. You'll find that you have to move it a quarter of an inch or more before you have permanent deformation and eventual buckling. We've had a good end to the year so hopefully crane safety is making strong strides or the economic slow down has pushed those not qualified out of the industry. 

Friday, November 14, 2008

Nov 14th, 2008

Portland Oregon. No accident to report. just a link to a youtube video of a tower crane being erected. I'm often asked the question of how they are erected or climbed. Here is a good time lapse of it being done. If it wasn't time lapse you could use this video instead of taking Ambien.

Monday, November 10, 2008

November 10th, 1978

Charolette North Carolina

A 390 to 630 Liebherr tower crane dropped a "steel rod" (I hear rebar) from a beam. It went through a school bus. Fortunately no kids were in the bus at the time and the steel rod missed the bus driver. Often we are asked to hoist over the street. You'll see jobs with laydown yards accross the street from the jobsite because the site itself is being 100 percent used. The practice of hoisting over the public has to be stopped. In most cases this would have nothing to do with the crane itself but rather the rigging and those practices. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

October 21st, 2008

Taizhou City. China A crane collapsed and fell into a second crane yesterday and caused it to collapse. I don't have any details on the cranes or even that they are tower cranes. Two workers died and four were seriously injured. I am working on finding photos.

Monday, October 20, 2008

April 20, 1985

Seattle WA, in 1985 a tower crane collapsed during a climbing operation. The idiots involved were pushing off from 324 feet up to insert more tower. They didn't have the bolts connecting the climber to the turntable installed, as specified, and the crane was out of balance as they virtually always are during climbing operations. (The same accident happened in England last year with a Comedil CTT181 www.sitbonzo.com ). The superstructure slid off the climber backwards and fell to the street. It was a Saturday monring so no one on the ground was killed. The operator survived the fall and came out the cabs saying "I'm alive!" The story around town is that, he was never right, mentally, again after the accident. He has since died due to other causes. Unfortunately the iron workers involved didnt' get killed. One or two of them were the same jackasses involved in the 1989 San Francisco climbing collapse. Fortunately they fell with that crane and won't be killing anyone else.
The most egregious part of the story is that Washington State levied a fine of $300 against the crane leaser for not supplying proper training. It's nearly as bad as the fines for the Bellevue accident only being $9200. Labor and Industries needs to sharpen it's pencil for this kind of stupidity and levy fines well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions. $9200 dollars doesn't even cover the cost of a company Christmas Party or the cost to the state to levy that fine. So we have to pay money to punish a contractor with a feather.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

October 14th, 2008

Shanghai China

Tower crane being loadtested failed killing two people in the crane, likely the operator and technician. No other details or photos have been found yet. I'll add them when I find them

October 14th, 2008

Link to a youtube video of a tower crane on a cross base going down. I can't tell if it's a traveller but it doesn' look like it.

Sorry, Link is now dead 8.4.09

Saturday, October 11, 2008

October 10th, 2008

Zibo City, China. A tower crane operating near a school collapsed and killed five children. The children were killed by falling bricks rather than directly by the crane. The operator survived but was taken to the hospital

This is the second time this decade that a tower crane in China has fallen over and landed on a school killing children. With the tiny news story that this is, how many cranes are actually falling over in China? Hell, five children dead and you have to look for the story. It really makes me wonder how many cranes are actually falling over world wide and why. We need to know in order to learn the causes and not repeat history.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

September 25th, 2008

New York, NY Two tower crane erectors are being charged in the death of the erector that fell 400+ feet to his death earlier in the month. The group was working to remove the walkway between the building and crane.
The deceased is the brother-in-law of the brothers that have been charged. Apparently in the removal the men charged had decided to remove the handrail on the walkway. The handrail was a part of the structural support for the walkway and sounds like it was a cause in the walkway becoming unstable. the result of the unstable walkway was the falling of the erector.

My comment: I understand that he was on a walkway. If the group is removing handrail, whether it's structural or not, why is it that the entire group is not tied off to a 5,000 lb point? He had a harness on, why not use it. I don't know that a person can honestly be charged with stupidity. I agree with removing their license to erect cranes, but any other charges are on shakey ground. The claim is that they killed their sisters (assumed sister) husband with malice or disregard for human life? My first reaction is the three of them didn't have the brain power to keep themselves safe. Vo lenti Nonfit injuria... to those who are willing, no harm be done.

I originally saw this article on Vertikal.net and you see the full article there.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sept 11th, 2008

Auckland NewZealand, Tower crane accident during crane erection. It's not clear as to what exactly happened as reports don't address what was happening on site. One worker fell with the crane but was freed quickly and it sounds as if he was uninjured. A second was trapped for up to one hour as firefighters decided how to best free the worker. It sounds as though he was trapped by his feet and his co workers had to support his weight while decisions were made. From the picture of the rescue it doesn't look like he is comfortable even after the rescue.

Sept 12th, 2008

Calgary Canada, tower crane was noticed as leaning four to five degrees by a pedestrian. The crane is shutdown and city engineers are trying to determine the problem. Those of us in the tower crane industry know that the crane always leans to the counter weighted side, let's hope that it's just that. If not it's a good catch by a passerby!

Sept 12th, 2008

Vancouver Canada, Fire in Cab of Liebherr tower crane, looks like a 316, caught fire. Two workers attempted to extinguish the fire and suffered smoke inhalation. The electrical panels are in the cab so it is critical that the fire extinguisher is in the cab and charged. Additionally I've seen electrical disconnects so high that one would have to get a ladder to turn the power off to the crane. This is a great example of why you need the disconnect to be at an accessable level. Smoke inhalation on two workers haveing to climb down 20 stories could be very dangerous and you certainly don't want to fight the fire long enough to endanger yourself over having to rebuild the electrical panel.

Friday, September 5, 2008

September 4, 2008

New York City, a tower crane erector fell 400 feet plus to his death from a platform between a building and the crane. Mr. Esposito was 48 years old and leaves behind children and a wife. He was found on the ground wearing a harness.

Those of us that work at elevation often become complacent in not tying off. Yeah, the lanyards get tangled. Yeah, they slow us down. But Goddamn guys, tie off. There are a 100 things on a crane that you can trip on. The ego or desire for speed, or just laziness isn't excusable. Some of these fat and lazy operators should be climbing the entire crane every day for their health, and to inspect the crane. If you cross from the building, did you inspect that crane daily before your shift?


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

August 24th, 2008

Phillipines Tower crane collapsed during crane erection. Four workers on top have survived but are seriously injured. Details are scarce at the moment and I will add more as soon as they surface.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

August 20th, 2008

Manresa, Spain Tower crane collapses either in the mast or foundation. Hopefully more pictures will show up in the next few days for a better description. The jib ended up destroying a house accross the street. The elderly couple in the home escaped serious injury and the operator also lived but was injured.

Link to a news video in Spain. I don't know if you learn any more if you don't speak Spanish, but if you do... http://www.elpais.com/articulo/espana/personas/resultan/heridas/leves/caer/grua/vivienda/Manresa/elpepuesp/20080819elpepunac_13/Tes

The story was found on http://www.vertikal.net/     colapso de la torre de la grúa

Friday, August 15, 2008

December 27th 2001

Tianshui China a tower crane collapsed near a school killing five including four children. 19 others were hospitalized with 90 suffering minor injuries. The crane crashed onto a school and managed to crash through three floors. The story is that it was unloading soil. Soil weights vary by compaction, water content, aggregate composition... were the limits properly set? I know I've had discussions about limits with reportedly "reputable" companies here in Seattle where they were more or less asking me to bypass them. Would a person in China say no and not be replaced? In my case the pick was around 9000 lbs and we needed less than another 200 lbs to make the pick. The crane is structurally capable of making the pick, but you cannot make the adjustment. It's criminally neglegent to do so and this story might be a good example of why.
Story link

May 12th 2008

Sichuan China suffers a 7.9 or 8.0 earthquake. Buildings collapsed all over the place but many tower cranes survived the shaking. I've only been able to find one that had it's jib buckle and heard of one Sun Crane that suffered a 10 meter crack. Given the size of the earthquake I'd be impressed if it wasn't for it being China and much of the information didn't get out due to people just trying to get drinking water and not having technology or even caring about it at that moment. Hopefully this was all of the damage but I suppose we'll never know.

April 1 2002

National Geographic with cleaner video of one of the cranes coming down. Note that it strikes the crane on the grounds jib as well! Watch that this work and survive. Now consider that this crane also lost it's counterweights. I would have never guessed that it would survive the shock and loss of counterweights. The jobsite was struck by a 6.8 magnitude earthquake while building Taipei 101. The cranes appear to be Favelle Favco's and I will assume that they were being bottom climbed menaing that they were supported by the concrete floors below and wedged in them. During the earthquaked the floor are trying to keep them selves together. Add on 500,000 lbs of crane and a failure is likely. These cranes were up to the 56th flioor. Given the carnage, we are lucky that only five people died.

Video showing both cranes coming down, in poor quality from two angles.

July 10th 2008

Rotterdam Netherlands, What appears to be a Wilbert WT 300 collapses while working on constructing a new building. Stories vary claiming that the operator swung out of the way of workers then somehow managed to jump safely to the 17th floor before the crane fully collapsed. Another report says that he died. Having an operator jump from the crane to the building would be an amazing story if we could confirm it. Sounds like a James Bond Casino Royale tower crane action scene. If a crane is in danger of collapse then you try to quickly swing or boom up, you would induce more damage to the crane than what may have been there causing you to think that there was a problem in the first place. As operators our exposure is imminent and everyone is much safer if we take a moment to discover the problem rather than make rash judgements. Maybe this is a case of him being a hero, but sometimes critical damage does not mean that the crane is going to fall if it is properly handled. I don't have any details as to why the crane would have failed, but one point of failure is certainly the mast.

December 2nd 2003

Rotterdam Netherlands. Tower crane collapses Killing one and injuring two.

July 7th, 2005

Hong Kong, Potain collapsed. Fortunately no one died in this case, but the operator was injured.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

First Construction tower crane links

Some of the first construction tower cranes were developed by Wolffkran and Potain. Hans Liebherr developed the TK 8 after WWII to rebuild Europe. It was the first to be easily transported and set up. Other large hammer heads of the day were huge and powerful, but it took months to build them versus a two day or less turnaround.
I'll add more links to this post


Monday, August 11, 2008

September 28th, 2007

Shanxi China. 1 died in an apparent climbing accident. The blue frame pinned off to the turntable with the tower slung out there like cord wood and none attached pretty much confirms it. It's likely to be safe to suggest that the dead is the operator from the looks of the cab.

April 12th, 2007

Toronto Canada, Kroll Luffer looses a jib during a wind storm. No deaths are reported and outside of the crane damage the only other damage reported was the power lines being taken out.
How many luffers loose jibs during winds? Is it not setting up the right radius to weather vane at night?



Great series of older cranes going back to the begining of construction tower cranes.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

August 5th, 2008

I don't know anything about these accidents. I was searching my computer for other pics and ran across them. A hazard of being busy and forgetting about them.
One is a crossbased crane. I really don't understand why we don't just have these cranes ballasted. They go over all of the time. If I'm a liar, I suggest you review the blog.
The second is of an apparent shock load. Do not pull on stuck loads. I've went for a ride once when a shotcrete pile (spoils) was stuck. I had stopped hoisting and was telling the rigger over the radio that it was stuck when it broke free. The pile went over the riggers head. Who knows why this crane was shock loaded, but this is the result. Fortunately the crane stayed vertical!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

July 31st, 2008

Aspen Colorado. Swinerton Construction noticed metallic cracking in a tower crane in use on one of their projects. The crane was close to being dismantled so they have stopped using the crane altogether. It sounds as if Swinerton is taking the lessons of crane collapses seriously and this is a breath of fresh air in an industry concerned about schedules.
The crane is owned by Lewis Equipment.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

June ? 2008

Voronezh Russia, Tower crane on traveler tips with the cab tilting and ejecting the operator even though the crane did not fully collapse. The operator was a woman which may be a first for this blog.
I would ask two things... how many cross base cranes have we lost in the last few years, and are we balasting them enough? Age may have no bearing on this accident, but how old is this crane? Why is the civilized world running cranes this old? The engineering on the size of the base is beyond me, but it seems that shock loading may not be taken into account when designing these bases. I've seen modern cranes on outriggers get light on the outriggers due to light shock loading on a self-erector. Adding balast or five feet of spread seems like it would be easy enough to get away from pushing the envelope.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

January 30th, 2008

Dubai Potain luffing crane collapsed during a concrete bucket pour.

Boom rope inspection? Were the limits working? Weld failure? Boom winch failure.

Unknown Date

Germany Structural failure of self erector. This might be a first to see a structural failure of the entire jib without collapse. Of course Edmonton Alberta had a outer jib failure, but this is a first with a total jib collapse. They were bucket pouring concrete at the time.

Unknown Date

Germany This was a first for me. A Mobile Tower crane collapsed. It landed on a number of cars. I can't say that I know enough about truck mounted tower cranes. They are common in Europe but in the US we generally haven't had them. I've often heard of axel weight issues but I think that those issues are fixed at this time. Will someone give me 2 million dollars so that I can buy one and go to work with it? This particular one is a Liebherr and the truck frame was horizontal and on it's outriggers.

Unknown Date

I hate saying unknown date but you'll see a number of him in a short span here since I was searching for accidents in languages that I don't speak. Olimpia Brazil. Look at the lacing design on this. The design is terrible. you have welds in shear instead of compression and tension. Then you look at the trolley and it looks homemade. Is it even from the factory design? Does it say a lot about the set up and maintenance of this crane? I have a feeling that Mitsubishi wagon was totaled but the crane probably wasn't.

colapso do guindaste de torre

Unknown Date

Dusseldorf Germany. Self erector drops on a car. The car is a Czech car called a Skoda. If we were speaking in Czech you could say "a skoda" too which translates to a pity. Yes, the Czech people chose "pity" as the name of their national car. But I don't know any German so I know nothing about this accident.

Unknown Date

Ground problems in Brazil left a sink hole that I'm sure damaged cars and maybe injured people. Notice the lean to the under mined tower crane? I can't find anything that says it fell over but I wouldn't go up it to dismantle it. I might place remote controlled explosives on the soil for a good show...

colapso do guindaste de torre

Unknown Date

Self Erector in Germany. Is it me or does Germany have quite a few accidents?

Unknown Date

Looks like a 77 EC Collapsing during dimantle. Did the building and crane manage to hold it up? Crazy photo from Germany

April 13th, 2008

Brazil Climb goes wrong. Looking at how the superstructure split the tower section, it makes me wonder if while climbing the crane the lacing or dogs failed alowing the crane gain speed falling blowing through the lacings. Of course that's impossible according to 9-11 conspiracy theorists. The collapse stops at the tie-in collar and the superstructure folds around the tower. Obviously if a operator was present he didn't survive, but since I don't speak Portugese I don't have any details.

colapso do guindaste de torre

March 1st, 2008

Crane on a traveller tips in Czech Republic. The crane has ballast, level is generally set by the rails... There must be a great story behind this one.

věžový jeřáb nehoda, věžový jeřáb kolaps

February 20th, 2008

Liebherr K Crane tips in Germany

February 19th, 2008

Mexico crane on a cross base collapsed. Appears to have been ballasted and tipped due to stability issues.

colapso de la torre de la grúa

May 30th, 2007

Germany, Self erector on what appears to be solid ground.

September 30th 2005

A Self erector tipped into a house. Level, good soils, adequate matting, enough counter weight? Website is in German. I found a number of these just finding the word for crane and collapse or accident in various languages. German = Kran Unfall

Sunday, July 20, 2008

May 22nd 2007

Treviso Italy Liebherr 63 on what appears to be a factory cross base. Counterweights are present, yet the crane tipped and landed in the roof of a house. In the world of tower cranes this is a tiny crane and so the house was able to stop the fall. Unfortunately I don't speak any Italian so the pictures and video were as far as I could get in terms of knowledge.

Three posibilities are immediately obvious. The crane wasn't erected plumb. The soils weren't checked, or it lacked the proper amount of counter weight. Without more information available, that's the best that I got for ya.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

January 30th 2007

Zhejiang Province China. Tower Crane collapse. ! worker dead and accident was under investigation. Link

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

April 1st, 2002

Taipei 101, worlds tallest building for a time was struck by a 6.8 earthquake when the building was being constructed on the 56th floor. Four Favelle Favco's were being used at the time. Two of the cranes were shaken loose from their anchorages and plumeted to the ground killing 5 and injuring many. I've seen video of the collapse on television and it's incredible, but I've never been able to find a link on the internet. At the end of the day, earth quakes of substantial size have the ability to take down cranes. Especially if they are being bottom climbed and rely on the strength of the building itstself for support and have minimal clearances between floors and mast sections.
Here is the link to the story.


I finally found a link to the video and had to post a new post to add it. See August 15th 2008 posting.