Crane Accidents

Letter Response

05/11/01

Location and Exact Date of This Incident is Unknown at This Time

Original Story (04/27/2001):  Manitowoc Model 111 Accident

Received the following, on May 11, 2001 in reference to the above *original* unedited report.

Dear Doyle,

This letter is in response to an accident that appeared on your website. Craneaccidents.com had photographs of a crane accident that occurred on 4/27/01 posted on their website. In the description of the accident the following was stated:

“It is reported the operator was pouring concrete with a two-yard bucket. He boomed down beyond safe radius and the crane began to tip. He then tried to swing away from the building and side loaded the boom and you can see the result.”

This was a far from accurate statement as to the cause of the accident. The crane that was involved in this accident belonged to my client, and I performed the accident investigation on behalf of my client. For the record the Operator involved in this accident was not an employee of my client, he was provided by the rental client. The statement mentioned above is not accurate to the cause of the accident at all. The Operator was working at a safe load radius, and he was well within the capacities that are stipulated in the load charts for that crane.

The theory that the boom was side-loaded by the 2-yard concrete bucket is preposterous as well. During the course of the investigation the load being lifted was estimated high at 1500 lbs. In the load charts for the load radius the Operator was working at the net capacity was nearly doubled that amount. At the time of accident high winds were not an issue so the side loading of the boom theory is not consistent with the findings that were found during the course of the investigation.

The true cause of the accident was determined to be ground failure. This is not shown in the photographs on your web site because the photographs were taken by a bystander apparently, who was not involved in this investigation, and who got their information second hand from personnel on the project that were not aware of the facts involved in this case. The information posted on your web site reflects poorly on my client who is dedicated to crane safety on all projects on which their cranes are placed.

On behalf of my client and myself I am asking that craneaccidents.com print a retraction on their web site noting the true cause of this accident. This would be greatly appreciated. It is also suggested that in the future craneaccidents.com exercise caution in displaying theories on their web site that are not backed up with evidence, and that are given by people that are not involved in the accident investigation.

Your web site does print excellent information, and it is obvious that its founders are dedicated to strive for crane safety so accidents like this one, and others can be prevented. My client and myself could not agree with craneaccidents.com more on these points.

Your cooperation in getting the truth across for this accident would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Investigator <Real mame deleted by Peeks>

Reply by Peeks:
Investigator, First I want to say I do everything I possibly can to publish the truth. However, I can’t physically visit every crane accident location and interview those involved and make my own determination as to what actually happened. I rely on those who send me the reports to send true and reliable reports. For most part I think they do an excellent job. Further, I realize the reports may not always be accurate, thus the disclaimer which has been posted on the site since its launch date on January 27, 1999.

Secondly, as to the cause of the accident referenced above. What you wrote above is only your theory or conclusion. Some other investigator(s) may differ with your conclusion.

Investigator, you wrote, “The true cause of the accident was determined to be ground failure.

Investigator, contrary to your conclusion, “ground failure” never has been, nor will it ever be the cause of a crane accident. The failure is on the part of the operator when he/she fails to determine the ground conditions and factor those conditions into their calculations before making a lift. If the existing ground conditions are not known, a soil test should be performed.

You also said, “The Operator was working at a safe load radius, and he was well within the capacities that are stipulated in the load charts for that crane.” My question is, did the operator know the ground conditions were poor and factor them into his calculations? If not, why not? To the best of my knowledge, ALL load charts are based on the crane being near level, usually within 1 percent, and on firm ground.

If the operator knew the ground was not firm, why wasn’t the crane sitting on mats? Why did he make the lift if he knew the ground conditions were poor or less than firm as required? If he guessed and guessed wrong, then he paid the consequences of guessing or assuming the crane was on firm ground.

Also, you stated, “At the time of accident high winds were not an issue so the side loading of the boom theory is not consistent with the findings that were found during the course of the investigation.” Investigator, High winds were not mentioned in the original report nor was it in anyway suggested that such may have contributed to the side-loading of the boom. I would like to know if high winds have to be present to cause side-loading?

It is also suggested that in the future craneaccidents.com exercise caution in displaying theories on their web site that are not backed up with evidence, and that are given by people that are not involved in the accident investigation.”

Investigator, speaking of evidence versus theories, where is your evidence? All I’ve seen is your theory and your opinions.

If I’m wrong on this I will certainly make apologies and retract my statements.

I do agree with you about us having a mutual interest in crane safety and presenting truth. In finality, that’s what this site is all about. So, since the above is based on what I received in the original report and on your theory of what happened, I think it would be good to get some commentary about this incident from others in the trade.

Lastly, it is not my intent to bash anyone nor any company. I just call the shots as I see them. Sometimes the truth hurts. If that’s the case, then so be it.

Category: Report Update

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