Friday, October 22, 2010

December 16th, 2009

Graz Austria A Self Erector fell over with the 49 year old operator in the crane injuring him.

The crane was lifting 1.5 ton concrete tanks at the time of the collapse. Short of making the pick at the tip of the crane, most K type cranes should be fine with this type of weight. Even if the weight exceeded the capacity, it would have to do so by quite a bit to legitimately pull over the crane. Of course I've seen cranes pulled over. We  had one go over here in Seattle a few years back. The crane could not make the pick so a forklift was used to help the crane make the pick. When the forklift was pulled away, the crane gave way. Sadly I cannot find record of this accident and might have to go to the public library to find it.

I share the Seattle story not because I think that this is what happened here, but because a sound self erector just doesn't fall over, just because. You'll notice the luffing rope appears to be intact. You don't see any bends in the tower sections indicating failure. The jib indicates that it's going straight out as if it was not a pendant failure. But the base is overturned. This doesn't appear to be a crane failure but rather a set up failure.

In the reports filed in the inspection in the month prior "defects" were noted (Link to story). My guess is that the defects weren't addressed. Maybe it was a lack of a soils report. Maybe it was poor matting and frankly it might take the majority of a day to fix the problem. Here in Washington State, if I state that there is a defect, it must be addressed prior to continuing or commencing operation. I'm annoyed that we don't have the option for a correction period because there are times where little problems are not going to cause an accident, but it will take time to get parts. Time to reschedule me and the technician and the test weights. Let's say it's a bad sheave that is still functional for example. But if contractors are allowed to ignore the Notice of Deficiencies, and the result is a crane falling, endangering many lives, maybe it's an annoyance that I can live with.

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