“I heard a loud boom. I saw this big crane, and it went into the neighbor’s yard and is crushing the house,” said Patricca Davis, a resident and witness of an unfortunate crane accident which happened in the Lauderhill area of Florida on May 31 2018. According to the news sources, the crane fell over and its boom crashed into two Lauderhill homes, leaving a resident and the crane operator with minor injuries. During operation, at some point, the crane lost its stability and fell towards the houses.
(Image Courtesy: cranenetworknews.com)
While the respective residents and crane staff are expressing gratitude to God till today for saving their lives, the proliferation of worldwide crane accidents and related losses in the construction sector are a matter of concern for everyone. However, labor organizations like OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has implemented strict measures and recommendations regarding cranes, derrick and hoist safety.
Let’s go back in time and study notable crane accidents that have happened worldwide over the past few years:
“Big Blue”, Wisconsin, July 1999
At some point during the construction of the Miller Park baseball stadium in Milwaukee, the ‘Big Blue’ crane collapsed with a load of over 450 tonnes on the hook. The incident happened on the miserable evening of July 14, 1999, killing 3 ironworkers. The cause of the accident was due to a large force of wind which was not considered for the load the crane was lifting, despite climate warnings by some of the field workers. This is one of the largest accidents to have happened in the history of cranes. The memories still haunt those who were witnesses of the ‘Big Blue’ tragedy.
(Image Courtesy: mlive.com)
2. Bellevue, Washington, November 2006
On November 16, 2006, a 210-feet tall tower crane toppled from a construction site and collapsed damaging three buildings and killing a resident inside the top floor. The crane operator suffered minor injuries. According to the L&I (Labor and Industries) Department of Washington State, the cause of the collapse was metal fatigue of the steel base frame, which was not strong enough to support the working crane.
(Image Courtesy: davehonan.com )
3. Manhattan, New York, March 2008
Termed as the worst crane accident in New York City by the then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the crane collapse in Manhattan killed 7 people and injured 24. The 200 feet tall luffing-jib tower crane snapped off when the workers were trying to attach a new steel collar to extend the crane upwards.
(Image Courtesy: nytimes.com)
4. Mecca, Saudi Arabia, September 2015
According to BBC News, a huge red crane crashed into a part of Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca on September 11, 2015. The accident killed 111 people and injured 394. Saudi Arabia’s Civil Defense authority concluded that the cause behind the collapse was an effect of strong winds and heavy rains during crane operation. This is the deadliest crane collapse incident in modern history after the New York Crane accident in March 2008.
(Image Courtesy: cnn.com)
5. Varese, Italy, May 2017
A large crawler crane collapsed in Varese, Italy on May 9, 2017 during the lifting of a new viaduct at the Arcisate Stabio railway yard. The crane suddenly lost its stability and overturned dumping its load on the ground. Fortunately, there was no loss of life. The cause behind the collapse was said to be a problem with the machinery and not the operation of the crane.
(Image Courtesy: vertical.net)
6. Geoje, South Korea, May 2017
A ‘chaotic’ atmosphere had formed when 6 workers died and 25 others were injured because of the collision of two cranes at Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje, South Korea. The company believed that the accident was the result of a miscommunication between crane drivers and signal people.
(Image Courtesy: maritime-executive.com)
7. Matraman, Jakarta, Feb 2018
The early morning of February 4, 2018 was the time of the unexpected collapse of a girder launcher at the railway construction site in Matraman. Causing the death of 4 workers and injury of 5 others, the Indonesia Construction Safety Association said the cause of the accident related to equipment and human error.
(Image Courtesy: thestraitstimes.com)
Crane accidents occur because of two main reasons; machine error and human error. It is very important to be alert before and during crane operations.
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