Saturday, June 21, 2008

June 20th, 2008


No reported injuries in East London South Africa as a jib of what, from the grainy picture, appears to be a Potain 178 (US designation) buckles in winds. The highest reported speed was 55 kph which is about 33 mph. the wind speeds up just 100 feet are often higher, but even a crane locked off and facing 50 mph winds shouldn't collapse without some sort of defect. I'll keep digging on this story and hopefully next week some rumors will escape to address why a modern jib would buckle from moderate minds. This jib is tall and narrow, but I suspect that there is more to story. By the way, don't side load a tower crane jib or it might look like this.


Vertikal.net is a great source on all things cranes and lifts.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

June 19th, 2008


Montreal, Canada 1 dead. Left behind a wife and 3 year old. 44 year old Patrick St-Amand was killed while dismantling a tower crane jib. The reports suggest that he was working on his knees removing a jib pin when the jib shifted lifting St-Amand and causing massive head trauma.


It's critical that when you are removing pins that you follow the pins with a B&O, pictured above. You place the narrow point on the pin and drive the B&O with a sledge hammer on the flat end. When the pin becomes free the B&O tip is in the hole and you can adjust your tensions/balance with the crane until the piece is free and everyone will be safe. I've only seen a B&O fail once and it's when the tolerances were too tight to read the load and the written weight of the counterjib was severly (7,000 pounds) incorrect. Had there have been a B&O tool used, from the information reported, this posting would not have existed.
As I've reported before, always know your escape routes as well. I saw an apprentice iron worker removing a pin from the lower chord of a jib on uneven ground. He has his feet under the lower lacings so I walk by and say 'Frank, you don't want your feet there. That jib could come down when you get that pin free." He moved his feet. Five seconds later he gets warned by another person that he's doing it again. Five seconds after that we hear a groan and he is giving the hoist up high ball signal to the crane operator. I never did hear if he broke his foot because it was the second incident of him getting injured after being warned. He got his treatment and was sent down the road kicking rocks to the next job because cranes were too dangerous for him. Always, always know your escape route.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

November 17th, 1989


San Francisco, 5 dead, 22 injured. A Peiner luffing crane collapsed while climbing at an elevation of 343 feet. Since the accident it was agreed that the climber was binding on the tower section. If a tower crane is not square to the tower and balanced, the loading spread between the tower and climber will not be even and focused on the designed location. For one reason or another the crew decided that it would be ok to slew the superstructure. Doing so applies torque forces on the ouside of the tower section at a point not designed to recive those forces. The torque applied at these points caused the tower to buckle and rip away from the mast causing the super structure to no longer be supported.

In all of this there is one good thing to report... there was a school bus crushed with the driver inside being one of the fatalities. Fortunately this was not a loaded school bus.

As a result California has been inspecting their cranes since the early 90's. Their crane fatalies have dropped dramatically and I am not aware of another collapse in California since then. Inspection will not catch everything, but as California shows, it will reduce deaths.

If anyone can find any pictures of this accident I'd be very interested in seeing them as I have never found one.

http://www.mee-inc.com/tower.html

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE7D91E3CF93AA15752C1A96F948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DEFDE123CF934A25751C1A96F948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1

June 12th, 2007







  







Dallas Texas. 1 dead from parted load line. The man killed was a cement truck driver cleaning up his truck about to leave the site. It sounds as if the concrete pour was ending and the crane was flying away when the line parted. The block fell striking the truck driver killing him.








Load lines on tower cranes are often non-rotating made by Casar or Python. The load line has three layers and are fairly complex. I worked with them for years until I took a class from a dealer and found it very useful. I was a qualified rigger and found it difficult to really picture what was going on in these ropes until I took that class and made use of Casar's material on inspection http://www.casar.de/. While operators should avail themselves to this information and do a daily inspection, inspection by a technician or qualified inspector should happen monthly or so depending on use. Nine times out of ten nothing will even be noted. The time that a cable is taken out of service for real reasons, you'll find the money well spent. Ekatrinburg Russia, lost a crane due to shock loading when a hoist line parted in 2008. I've found a line destroying itself after only six months on the crane. I've found a line in extremely bad condition after the technician said it was fine. I've found a load line inspected days before broken due to a unskilled worker crashing the block into the ground which resulted in a kink and valley break. Take the time to inspect your lines and have your rigger/bellman help you. You can't properly inspect a line from the cab.
1st picture in upper left. Triple wire break in one strand. This is happening because the line is old and rubbing at the kick point on the drum (normal). There were 100's of breaks in this line.
2nd picture to right is a break from crashing the block. The displaced wires along with a valley break is cause for removal from service. This line was about to be proof load tested when I noticed the break due to someone running the crane when they should not have been. A single valley break is cause for rejection as you can only see 20% of the line. If the rope is internally showing a break, you must remove it from service and you cannot Marlin Spike a "special" wire rope.
3rd picture is of a rope that was crushing in on itself for five feet then bircaging. The block was nearly at the ground and this was at a kick point. Essentially a good operator inspection performed alone may have missed this. The rope is not rotating properly between the outer and inner layers and failure will eventually result. The crane was only six months old.
Go to Casar and order the CD-ROM for free!

June 15th, 2008

I have no idea if this is intentional, but I would guess that it's a demolition of a tower crane. The reason that I would guess it's intentional is because it's all caught on film perfectly and the crane picks up speed while travelling. It's pretty cool anyways.
http://www.tvujsvet.cz/video/5c4r4lwREOW/jerab.html

October 4th, 2007


Tower crane outside of Prague Czech Republic falls. 2 are dead with one injured. If you look at the photo one wonders about the size of the ballast at the base. Basically either the base must be able to stop forces greater than the moment loda of the crane with it's live loading and leverage, or it must weight more and spread that load out on the soils far enough so that the soils can support it.

věžový jeřáb kolaps, věžový jeřáb nehoda

January 19th, 2007

video


Heavy winds down a Potain in Prague. I wish that I spoke more Czech but I'm not sure if there were any injuries and cannot find references in English. When you see that you can find them in a country like Czech not being reported outside the borders because it isn't important, how many are we really not finding?
http://www.stream.cz/video/1/560-vetrna-demolice-aut-jerabem

věžový jeřáb nehoda, věžový jeřáb kolaps

July 21, 2000


The date is what is listed on the camera. I'm having difficulty finding stills of this accident.

A self erector was hoisting a water tank into place when the ground pressures became too much for the soil. The tank and crane fall taking three men with it. It sounds as though two men survive it and two die. The website is a Czech website and Pad Jerabu means falling crane. It was caught on video and took place in New Providence Iowa as best I can tell.
http://www.stream.cz/video/13/93403-pad-jerabu

video

August 10th, 2000

A Dane County iron worker died Wednesday after he was struck by part of a crane he was assembling high above the UW-Milwaukee campus.
Tracy Roth, 29, of Cottage Grove, was on a five-member J.H. Findorff and Son crew that successfully erected the vertical sections of a crane at an addition to the Sandburg Hall dormitory.
But at 2:50 p.m., Roth was assembling horizontal sections 220 feet off the ground when part of the crane apparently struck him in the chest, said Richard Lynch, Findorff executive vice president.
The accident occurred so quietly that many people near the work site only learned of it later. ``There was no physical damage to the machine, no property ...

Comment,

You have to know how to stay clear of pinch points. This iron worker may have been good most of the time, but a sad misplacement of his body got him crushed. When you have a 30,000 lbs jib coming at you we want to stop it from hitting the crane too hard, but always know your escape route!
http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-64049325.html

Thursday, June 12, 2008

March 10th, 2008

2 dead in Ekaterinburg Russia as Load line parts. The resulting shock load causes the crane to collapse and it is caught on video. The qualityof the video is terrible and includes the aftermath with video of the dead. If you are uncomfortable with that stop the video just after the collapse.

Check your hoist lines daily.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=9fa_1205591437

Friday, June 6, 2008

November 16th 2006




Bellevue A Liebherr 420 (US designation) tower crane collapsed in Bellevue Washington outside of Seattle. The falling crane struck three other buildings including the apartment of Mathew Ammon killing Mr. Ammon.




The crane was on a designed base structure that can be found here. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/specials/crane/




The base did not maintain the crane in a plumb condition of 1:500 or a tolerance of 1 inch out of plumb for every 40 feet of vertical elevation. There were multiple points of failure that eggheads will debate for quite some time, but the beam ripped due to metal fatigue, a weld failed, and the crane was outside of tolerances for plumb. Everything else is academic and about making money.




December 13th 2006

Seattle A Kroll luffing tower crane that had just been climbed the day before and was found to be spinning rapidly in the morning due to the jib being caught in the winds. There were a few problems here. Rigging was left on the hook and had swung into the glass on the adjacent building. Virtually every manual says to strip the hook. Second, the placement of the crane was too close to the neighboring building so the crane was not able to be boomed down far enough act as a weather cock. As a result the wind caught the jib, started the crane in motion, and there was nothing to stop it.

In the video and other videos you'll hear people state that it has to spin in the wind. It has to be able to move with the direction of the wind. I don't see a tornado over head and this is not what spinning with the wind means. The tower is being worked excessively hard while the crane is spinning that fast. The crane itself cannot swing that fast so the moment load kps are growing beyond intended loads. The grease in the motors and Rotec are low rpm. So you start spinning at 5 times the rated speed and heat will generate. If a motor or bearing were to seize due to over use like this, that crane would dismount like a gymnast on a pommel horse.

A cure is to let the swing brakes drag a bit to prevent this from happening again. If the crane can vane before 40 mph it's better than letting it tear itself apart. This is just like anyone who's tit is about to be in a ringer... nope, everything is just fine here. this happens all of the time, you've just never seen it. Shenanigans!

video

February 3rd 2005

Australia A luffer tower crane suffered a jib failure in heavy winds. While a sudden gust of windlike a microburst is possible, I would wonder about the weather vaning of this crane. Were the brakes released? Was is boomed down to the proper boom angle? I'd be up there counting the wraps on the boom hoist and seeing how much line was spooled off to get my answer on the boom angle.

May 30th 2008


New York a 24 year old Kodiak tower crane suffered a turntable failure causing the collapse of the superstructure, killing two and injuring one.


The turntable in question appears to have been removed from service previously. At this time it is unclear if repairs were made and how. To give the benefit of the doubt, let's assume the cracked weld was repaired. Often a cracked weld is only removed to the point at which you can see the crack with the naked eye. The problem is that cracking often continues well past what you can see with the naked eye. If you do not remove and replace the rest of this weld that is cracked, you could end up with a situation just like this where the crack reappears over a short amount of time and fails catastrophically. Due to the location of the weld, it would be hard to detect on a daily inspection by the operator.


Also a crack in the weld could indicate further micro cracking. Cranes that are 24 years old are subject to metallic problems. How many lifting cycles was the crane designed for, and how well is the steel performing? We often ask too much of our cranes when they are 25 years old when we run them at maximum capacity, maximum speed.

April 30th 2008


Annapolis. a crane erector was killed while dismantling what appears to be a Pecco 280 or 400 tower crane. The erector was crushed between the queens post and the round tube lacings directly behind it on the inner jib.
The process of pulling the outer pendants upon dismantle requires the use of a come-a-long. The come-a-long chain can be seen to the right and above the white crane boom used to lower the rescuse basket. In the process you eventually pin off the queens post to prevent it from moving via plates. It would appear that the erector placed himself in the "bite" between the queens post and lacing. Without any information to back this up, I would wonder if the come-a-long either failed or went to nuetral while the erector was in this poor position. The weight of the sagging pendants behind him easily could have starved the man for air while attempts were made to relieve the pressure.
We have to remember that failures happen. When I got into iron work I was taught to always remember to plan my escape route. You have to look at everything as if it is going to fail in order to keep yourself safe.

April 29th 2008

Damascus Crane collapse kills 4. At the time of this posting I did not have any pictures.

Edit: I found a link while searching for new accidents in Arabic. The crane collapsed either during the dismantle or during a climbing operation. The translation leaves much to desire -"we do unzip the tower crane, which weighs 140 tons and the final phase of the jaw upset their balance and fell on us" said one of the injured workers.  You can clearly see the climber is on the crane and the article notes that people had to be present above. When he mentions an upset balance, and I see the jib in the picture of the downed crane, I picture this being a climbing operation.


March 26th 2008




Miami 2 die and 5 are injured as a tower section is dropped during a climb.




The section of tower is 20 feet long weighing in at 14,000 lbs. The crane appears to be a 500 HCL Liebherr. The transfer of the tower from the hook to a trolley device on a beam is one option for how this accident could have happened. One scenario for rigging this tower off of the picking device seen on top of the tower could leave endless rigging without a positive attachment. Meaning if the tower is not settled in properly in the trolley device but the rigging becomes slack due to say poor communication, the rigging could dislodge from it's placement.




Of course it's possible to have the entire beam fail to support the tower or the end trolley stops fail, but again, it's an on going case so infomation is sacred at this point. Achims razor would suggest the first scenario I laid out. If you look at the picture of the tower in the house, you can see the vertical member bent to the left suggesting that the tower was hanging by one ear for a moment before the dismount.

March 15th 2008




New York A Favelle Favco diesel luffer collapsed during climbing preperation. The collar was being installed when reportedly a piece of nylon rigging failed. While the cause of this rigging failure may be debated for years to come, the mechanics of failure are quite obvious.




The collar surrounds the tower. If released physics will dictate that it can only fall straight down. When it reaches the next collar since there were a total of three on the crane, it was highly unlikely that collar would be able to support the sudden shock load from above. Unfortunately the mid collar broke free from it's locked position on the tower and it's connections to the struts. Together the collars impacted the first, lower most collar which didn't stand a chance. At this point the back moment of the crane was too much for the mast as the crane was past the max free standing height and gravity continued it's dirty work.




I have not seen the rigging used on this collar. however, it is critical that you calculate out your rigging as a three legged pick. You must inspect the rigging. If Nylon eyes are stiff, it can be cause for removal from service. If any ripping is present in the eyes, it can be cause for removal from service. If the eye does not naturally fit in it's location and must be forced, you can cause an uneven lay promoting tearing and substantially weakening a strap that you think is overkill. Proper use of $20 worth of rigging may have saved seven lives here. But again, I haven't seen the rigging or pictures of how it was set up and can only speculate from news reports and one very specific picture.




February 23rd 2008


Singapore. A tower crane collapsed in Singapore without warning. The base bolts failed and the crane immediatly collapsed. the operator was killed.
Over use of hardware may seem like a good budgetary practice until you are on the wrong end of this lawsuit.

New picture found


December 28th 2007

Saigon Six injured due to a climbing accident.

Update: 10.27.2010

I've found information on the accident recently due to Google improvements. The crane was an inverted jib, which makes me read, old crane. Krolls and Lindens were known for having the inverted jib. The crane was a total loss as it came down and injured six people. The jib was strewn across the street having crashed into motorcycles and over the building that it was working on. Additionally it took out the power lines in the area which must have been a mess because like many developing countries the poles have a plethora of lines on them.

The crane itself was 100 meters tall with 45 meters of boom. It was working on getting at least 22 stories on the building. It sounds as if the building was scheduled to open in the Spring of 2008. Link




December 17th 2007


New York, 7 ton load of steel fell from the sky when a 9.5 ton sling failed. An architect was working in a job shack trailer when it was impacted by the load. He lived but is permanently disabled as a result.

December 12th 2007




Forest Hill in London.

Suspected metal fatigue may have caused this jib failure. Micro cracking is a condition that can only be seen with the naked eye while the crane is loaded.

The problem with some of the older cranes is the steel as flexed so much that it developed stress cracking. It's hard to tell the difference between a stress crack and metallic cracking. as a result and due to the liabilities of construction, I personally don't like cranes over 20 years old.

Think about how close this was for the operator in terms of being struck by that jib and possibly having the cab ripped off the crane.

December 5th 2007

Dublin Ireland A crane in Dublin was erected in an improper manner. Because of tight clearences with another crane, the installation included counterweights stacked instead of hung in their saddles. I could go on for days with what's wrong with this. www.vertikal.net put the question out and I responded. You are welcome to go to their site and see my comments.

www.vertikal.net/en/stories.php?id=5048

November 6th 2007

Seattle Washington 3rd and Battery had an operator fall to his death. Terry Potter fell to the base of his crane from an unspecified location and died as a result of his injuries.

Another operator fell in Wyoming within months of this accident due to ice. The Wyoming operator lived because the crane had fall protection in place since the crane had a vertical ladder.

October 24th 2007


Shurjah India saw a tower crane collpase that killed two.

You can only fit a large tower crane into such a small area by bending it up.

October 17th 2007


New York City. a jobsite was hoisting a skip box at the 51st floor when it broke free from it's rigging. It fell to a level protected by decking and was prevented from hitting the street.


Six pedestrians were struck by falling glass and luckily were only minorly injured.

October 11th 2007


Austin Texas. A self erector collapsed after an apparent soils problem. The crane had recently been checked by an inspector.


Self erectors sit on outrigger pads. It is imperative that the ground under the pads be tested and compacted.

Edit: Found link to video of the aftermath Link

October 9th 2007


One day shy of three months and the rains came.


Xewkjja. I'm sorry, but this one is too good. Hollywood couldnt have written it better. A car struck a self erecting tower crane causing it to collapse. It's almost as good as a man having a medical emergency while driving in Seattle about 8 years ago and ended up driving right into a construction hole where a parking structure was being built. Fortunately in that case, no one was hurt.

July 10th 2007


We made it almost a month!?


Hong Kong, 2 dead. The reports are conflicting as to what was going on with the crane. The next day while the reportts were still not clear a picture made me suspect this was a climbing accident gone wrong. The shinny hydraulic cylinder is a tell tale on most tower cranes that a climb is being performed. Until some of the newest models, tower cranes have always changed the hook radius with either boom or traversing ropes.

June 15th 2007


Death didn't even take a day off.

Jakarta One killed and three injured as a sling failed and shock loaded the jib off of a mobile hydraulic truck crane.

Old rigging gets too many people. Nylon endless slings can be as cheap as $12 and reliable. Cranes have sharp edges that should always be watched for. And cranes dismantling a crane, especially, should have a working load cell displaying the weight of the load. Bellmen on dismantles should use the known weight versus the actual weight to know what to expect at all times. If the piece being removed was stuck and a load cell used, maybe this accident would not have had to happen.

June 14th 2007


Boguchag Hydro Siberia 4 "operators" died in a tower crane collapse. The activities of the dead was not released, but the report showed high winds that day. Mother Russia still suppresses information as old habits are hard to break.

June 11th 2007


Castor Bay Ireland. Improper pick points and likely no use of a B&O (backing out tool) lead to this crane jib being imbalanced. As soon as the jib was free it immediatly pendulumned vertical and broke wrapping itself around the jib of the mobile crane. The operator and crane were in danger for four more hours until the jib could be removed.

Mark your pick points when the crane goes up and this will not happen.

June 3rd 2007

Croyden England. This may be the dumbest thing that I have ever seen. The jackass in charge of this should be handed a paintbrush and told to try and not hurt anyone ever again.

For one reason or another this crane was ready to be climbed. Tower cranes have back moment (they weight more in the back then the front) so in order to be climbed they must be balanced. You can guess pretty closely at the balance point of a crane. Since you are supposed to pin or bolt the climber off to positively attach the crane to the climber, you only have to be in the ball park. These idiots didn't connect the climber to the superstructure and removed the bolts from the mast to the superstructure. The result is a beautiful dismount fortunately not killing anyone.

Fortunately a gentleman caught in on camera and you can see it here.
www.sitbonzo.com/crane/
video


The very thing happened in Seattle in the 80's as well. The crane punched through six floors of parking structure before coming to a rest. The operator popped his head out of the cab and yelled "I'm alive!" in astonishment. Again, lawyers make this stuff disappear. I wonder if anyone at Sellen would like to find them for educational purposes?

April 17th 2007

Harland and Wolff built the Titanic along with White Star Lines. Turns out they know how to down a crane as well. Samson, a large gantry crane used to hoist large ship modules was travelling when no one was looking closely enough. It ran into the jib of a tower crane pushed it over. Fortunatly for us some painters caught it on a phone video camera. Be aware that when you witness a tower crane collapse, expletives will fly out of your mouth.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05_ahAulMSE

March 29th 2007


Shanghai. City of 12 million people. Where can you drop a tower crane without killing a ton of people? 100 meter tower crane suffered a pendant failure resulting in the main jib falling to the building fortunatly. The crane was able to be dismantled by other cranes on site. No deaths reported.

March 10th 2007

Qatar 4 dead during crane erection. Again, what experience and communication skills did these guys have? I've worked in Hawaii and had communication problems. No pics found.

February 27th 2007




St. Petersburg. A large self erector on a traveler (travelers run on rails similar to a train) was going to be dismantled the next day. Being in a hurry, the contractor began dismantling the track while the crane was still operational. The result was 3 dead.

January 20th 2007


Katowice Polland, and Utrecht Holland. That's right, two more in Europe. This is four in 20 days! A windstorm comes through helping crews dismantle two cranes and buildings they were trying to assemble. On of the cranes had an operator in it.

Let's be honest, this is why unions still are needed. I was substituting in a crane last night. The winds picked up to 43 mph. We finished with the pic we were in, I swung clear, pulled the hook up and weathervaned the crane. It's done and you need people not afraid for their jobs to make the right call. There are great non-union companies that would support the same, but why would an operator be in the seat still when the winds are nearing 90?

January 18th 2007

Bucharest Romania. 4 dead after a dismantle gone wrong. No pictures are available. If anyone has some I would be glad to post them.

January 16th 2007


Starting the year off right, Liverpool has a tower crane collapse over backwards in winds reported at 35mph. Looking at the picture you can see where the tower bent, so the only question is was the tower poorly built and or damaged, or did the tower strike something solid like the form work?

Most of us know that you cannot touch the boom of a crane to the load. So why is it ok for a tower to hit anything? The answer is it is not ok, but once a month I'm telling someone to clear formwork back from a crane.
There was a freak wind that took tension off of the boom as it was boomed up with a load on. while the boom was loose the boom rope dislodged from the sheave even though the guides were in place. The operator began to boom down but since the rope was not in the sheave, the rope was only loosening on the drum and the boom was not moving. When the boom finally moved it shock loaded the crane. Did the extra movement with dynamic loading cause the tower failure at a weld or by touching the form work?
It's highly unusual that the rope would dislodge. Was the pin back as far as it safely could be? It met safety standards with only 4 mm of clearance. but if the pin location was as close to the straight plane as possible, can the rope really jump the sheave and tighten enough to flatten out? It's a very odd situation and unfortunate.

December 20th 2006


Penang Malaysia. A tower crane fell 40 meters, landed on it's tower top, and yet the operator lived. Astounding. The way that appears from this picure, I would guess that we are lookin at a bolt failure between the tower and turntable. Corrosion is common on old cranes. Owners don't want to take the time or money to buy new bolts so they run them too long. I have an example of what is begining to be too long from Seattle. 35 years on the same bolt is too long.

December 13th 2006

Baharain. Lost a tower section while climbing. One man on the ground died. There are no pictures available.
In the Middle East right now there is so much growth that a large portion of the workers come from the Philipines or India. Much like say a Russian or Mexican crew here in the US, you end up with language barriers and an inability to teach people proper safety practices. From what is reported and the number of cranes there, they have a stellar safety record in that area. But we have to make sure that people don't take chances because of a language barrier. The life lost might not be the dumbass's, it might be yours.

November 7th 2006


In Minnesota a father/son team was working on a tower crane climb when the father fell to his death. Can you imagine the impact on this young man? Tie off.

November 6th 2007




Edmonton Self Erector suffers jib collapse while loaded. in the pictures you can see the trolley ran to the tip. The collapse is at the plates that are welded to the top chord. The weld has clearly failed. Inspection may have prevented this, but I'm not sure about Alberta's requirements. BC is stringent on inspection.


October 19th 2006


London Luffing tower crane suffers a jib collapse. It's reported that there were no deaths. Apparently there were 6 tower cranes on this one site. One tower crane managed to make contact with another and the side loading caused this collapse.

It's easy to get complacent and I'm embarassed to say I've made contact with the lines of a fellow crane operator on a multi crane site. We had been talking and failed to do so once and the next thing you know I developed a case of complacency. In congested cities where multiple jobs are going on at once, you need to be aware of other cranes and insist on crane to crane radios. I substitute operated a crane on a site with a new crane neighbor. No note was left about being able to reach the neighboring crane. I nearly swung into him because we had no contact and I was not aware he could get into my airspace. Avoid too many cranes and stay on top of it.

September 30th 2006




New York A Favelle Favco luffing crane being climbed suffered a climber slip resulting in the a shock to the structure. The tower placed on the climbing frame awating installation was shook loose from it's position and fell to the street hitting a taxi with three people inside. If any of them would have been in the passenger seat, death would have been assured. Imagine a semi landing on your car as if you were in a movie, and that's what happened.


You can, and should secure the towers to the climber. In the even of a failure of any sort the tower would be attached to the crane and likely safer than hitting the people in the street or on the job site. It varies by crane, but you have to do this... ask the dead in Miami in 2008.

September 26th 2006


Battersea 50 meter tower crane collapsed killing 2 and injuring 3. The crane appears to have suffered a Rotec bolt failure. Improperly torqued bolts on a Rotec (part that allows the crane to turn on the top superstructure only) or bolts used multiple times, or not inspected can lead to this incident.

The operator was ejected from the cab and a man washing his car were killed over a thousand dollars worth of bolts.

June 2nd 2006

Uitenhage South Africa. 3 dead in crane collapse during erection. No further details.

April 18th 2006

Miami A external climber was dropped as it was being lowered by the crane itself. A father and son team were working together lowering the climber with the hoist of the tower crane. It was not uncommon to ride the climber down to ensure that it stays clear and moving. The father was free riding and the son was tied off to the climber. Either the climber hung up causing the rigging to come slack then shock load, or the rigging was spaced too far apart for as narrow as the rigging distance is. That would cause the rigging to slide together and potentially cut leading to failure.
The climbing section fell hitting collar below that was holding the crane to the building. The collar failed to support it's new load and the climber continured to fall to the next collar which stopped the fall. Sadly the father of the team not being tied off fell to his death.
Dismantling a collar can naturally be an impressive shock to the crane. I can only imagine how a instant removal would react and then to have the crane above it's max free standing height... Miami is fortunate that this crane did not fall from 400 feet plus.
As is the normal course of action, attorney's have valuable information about this buried and we'll only get to guess about how to learn from it. I stopped riding climbers down after this accident. In hindsight, it's illegal anyways.
Video link
http://www.local10.com/news/8790625/detail.html

March 6th 2006

Tel Aviv 2 killed and 8 injured as crane super structure fell.

March 6th 2006

Coatesville New Zealand A self erecting tower crane was being folded up during dismantle when the a frame hung up. Three men climbed the crane to physically force the a frame clear. You can't know the forces involved, but they managed to shake the frame clear. When it cleared two of the three jumped clear. The thrid man was struck in the head and died on the scene.

Second crane with man basket? Relieve pressure and use a proper tool to get clearance such as a sleever bar? I wasn't there but I can't imagine that there wasn't a less cowboy way to acomplish this task.

February 13th 2006

Queensland Australia Operator fell to his death while using a tower crane to do research on tree canopies. It's not uncommon for researchers use tower cranes in remote areas to see trees in nature undisturbed. The Amazon has one, Washington State, Australia, etc.

The researcher may have fallen while in a man basket and operating the crane via remoted control. He should not have been alone and that policy must be adhered to.

February 11th 2005


Sussex England 2 dead in crane dismantle. There was a second crane on this site and it isn't clear as to why this one happened. Was the crane allowed to be overloaded? Did the crane make contact with another crane on site? It sounds like a failure in the dismantle caused the damage that you can see on this crane.


If anyone has information about it, post away.

July 9th 2004

Cardiff Luffing tower crane suffered a jib failure in the wind.

Luffing tower cranes must be boomed down to a specific radius given it's configuration to allow it to weather vane. If it is not then if pointed into the wind, the jib can literally be blown over backwards. This happens all to often and later I'll link a video of a crane here in Seattle swinging around rapidly. The claim is that it was working perfectly fine, but it was the shenanigans of nothing to see here, move along. I'll get into that in that story later.

February 3rd 2004


Dublin Ireland lost the jib of a Wolffkran in a windstorm over night. No injuries were reported but a apartment had to be evacuated and a rail line halted. Early reports focused on weather vaning the crane.

When a tower crane is out of service the slewing (swing) brakes are opened so that the longer jib of the crane can point in the direction the wind is blowing and change directions with the wind. This keeps the crane profile as small as possible and since cranes are counterweighted then lean back, and weathervaning allows the crane to lean into the wind just like when we try to walk into the wind.

May 6th 2003




Three cranes on one German site collapsed killing 2. Reports are that one foundation failed and crane fell into other cranes causing them to fail. As always, information dries up quickly after the accidents as the lawyers get involved. Then we never learn from the mistakes and repeat them.