Crane Accidents

Soft Soil Causes Crane to Topple Onto Its Side

06/25/00

Texas

According to a construction worker at the scene, at approximately 9 a.m. Tuesday a crane belonging to the Deavers Construction Company toppled over while the operator was lifting a 103-foot, 44-ton I-beam onto its upright pillar supports.

Soft soil may have been the culprit of a crane accident at the Milo-I-35 North flyover construction site that injured two workers Tuesday morning. According to a construction worker at the scene, at approximately 9 a.m. a crane belonging to the Deavers Construction Company toppled over while the operator was lifting a 103-foot, 44-ton I-beam onto its upright pillar supports.

The attempted feat, which requires two cranes working in conjunction to complete, was going fine, said the an eyewitness, until the ground below one of the cranes gave way. As a result, the side of the crane sank into the ground about a foot and one-half, causing the rotating upper portion to spin around 180 degrees by the weight of the beam and topple over onto its side.

The I-beam fell and broke, coming to rest about 30 or 40 feet north of the body of the crane. Texas Department of Transportation Deputy District Engineer Salvador A. Mercado speculated that with all the rain that the area has received recently, the soil in that area may have gone soft, allowing for the 150-ton crane carrying a 40-ton beam to sink easily.

“Farmers want rain but construction people don’t like it. This could have been a major accident. Luckily, this occurred in the morning hours when there is little traffic,” Mercado said. Only two people were injured at the scene, including the operator of the crane and another operator who was driving what is called a “man-lift” used to transport people to and from the construction site. The second vehicle was caught up in the accident as the crane came down.

Workers at the scene said that neither man was seriously injured though they were taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

“We’re nothing short of fortunate that no one was seriously injured. This is a very intricate project with a lot of hardware and accidents are bound to happen, as with any project. We plan on working both with the contractor and our people to prevent similar accident in the future,” Mercado said.

Category: Accident Report

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