Crane safety stats this year have been marred with worldwide mishaps resulting in deaths, injuries and property damage. Here’s an excerpt from the Crane Accidents web site that gathers crane accident reports from around the world. The geographic scope of the crane accidents reported show that crane operating safety is a serious matter.
George Town, Grand Cayman Islands (located just south of Cuba), July 29. A 27-year-old operator was injured when the 80-foot self-propelled boom he was operating overturned. The crane boom was fully raised and the injured man was doing window-masking work for a local bank. He survived, probably because he was wearing a safety harness. The accident may have been caused when the operator failed to extend the crane’s adjustable axles before the rig tipped over.
Menem, Belgium, July 11. Two men had to jump clear when a spider lift crane overturned at a roof repair site. Investigators blame the workers’ failure to set the outrigger balancers and overloading the crane with two workers in the cage. The men suffered bruises and leg injuries as they jumped from the crane cage to an adjoining roof.
Wohrden Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, July 23. A gigantic 8-axle all-terrain crane flipped sideways to a ditch on the side of the road. The driver was moving between locations on a wind farm construction site and was reversing when the mishap occurred. The driver was slightly injured. Workers on the scene blamed the accident on heavy rains, narrow roads and pressure to get the wind turbines up and operating as quickly as possible.
Istanbul, Turkey, July 15. A Demag Ac700 self-propelled crane was at work dismantling an overpass while a crew was cutting a section free. Suddenly an adjoining section of the overpass broke free, dropped to ground, killing one and injuring possibly two others. The crane’s cab was severely damaged, but the crane did not overturn nor drop its load.
Troitsk, Russia, June 19. A crane collapsed in this Ural Mountain city near Kazakhstan, killing 5 and injuring 5 more – all Chinese migrant workers. Details are sketchy, but the accident occurred on a power plant construction work site.
Pradesh, India, July 31. One man was killed as a result of a cable failure on a tower crane. The trolley broke free and the crane dropped a heavy concrete slab it was lifting. Three casualties: 1 dead, 2 injured workers at a residential construction site.
And on the home front:
San Francisco, CA, August 3. A heavy forklift crane tipped over closing the intersection of Ellis and Leavenworth to morning traffic. Some parked cars were damaged, but no one was injured. The cause of the accident was not reported.
Dallas, TX, July 11. Two men died when a tower crane collapsed on the campus construction site at the University of Texas. The crane collapsed as it was being dismantled. The men who died were on the crane at the time and were employees of a contractor, who, along with the University, is undergoing an OSHA investigation.
Garrett, Indiana, July 26. One man died when his crew tried to use a logging chain and a crane platform to lift a tree that had fallen into a lake. The weight of the tree caused the platform connection to part, dropping the man to the ground. He died instantly.
Oshkosh, WI, July 5. One man was killed and a crane operator seriously injured during construction work on the Butte des Mort Bridge. A crane was lifting a 52-ton bridge girder when it collapsed. The accident is still under investigation, but OSHA records show that the crane company has four citations and fines for failure to provide fall protection and training for its employees.
West Palm Beach, FL, August 2. An asbestos removal worker was killed while removing ceiling tiles. Standing on a 20-foot slab scissor lift, the man fell and landed on a concrete floor. Suffering severe head injuries, he was declared dead on arrival at the local hospital. Investigators believe the man fell while standing on the lift guardrails trying to reach the roof.
The foregoing are typical examples of the many crane mishaps and disasters that occur everywhere. OSHA naturally considers moving large heavy loads a crucial element in our nation’s manufacturing and construction. It addresses the significant safety issues for operators and people working near the cranes and covers crane operator safety quite thoroughly in 29 CFR 1910, which, like most safety regulations, has been written in blood.
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