Crane Accidents Do Happen
In spite of all the care taken in the operation of cranes and safety features installed in them, accidents do happen and have occurred over the years. Some of the crane accidents have become quite well known because of the prominence of the location, magnitude of the accident, and numbers of casualties which have included fatalities.
The Big Blue crane accident occurred in 1999 at the site of the Miller Park Stadium in Milwaukee, WI during installation of the roof segments by a crane that was 567 foot high and was lifting a roof piece weighing in at 423 tons. Test loads had been earlier carried out to ensure that the lifting mechanism and arrangements were adequate. The size of the roof piece was 260 feet by 100 feet and 13 feet high. This in itself made the load difficult to manage when winds were more than ten MPH. The accident took place when winds gusted up to 25 MPH and the resulting toppling forces of the weight and wind forces caused a failure at the base of the crane, probably causing some settling of the foundation and resulting in the crane collapsing. Metal fatigue of crane parts was also considered one of the factors.
The Deep South crane accident occurred in a Houston refinery in 2008. Alarms sounded before the collapse, and this is a definite pointer to some of the safety parameters of the crane having been exceeded. The crane had a capacity to life one million pounds and had been tested with a weight of eight hundred thousand pounds a few days before the collapse.
In 2006, in Bellevue, Washington a crane collapsed killing one person and injuring the crane operator. This industrial crane accident received a lot of publicity because of its location and the fact that crane the crashed into a number of homes and condos. According to the crane operator, the collapse occurred while he was in the process of closing down operations for the day.
The Wadleigh crane accident occurred in 2000 on an offshore drilling platform. The crane boom was lowered to zero degree level to lift a piece of equipment from a shipping vessel. Investigations revealed that operations were frequently being conducted beyond its working limits and this indicated a lack of supervision and operating norms. The accident was probably due to the fact that the laws of simple physics were ignored.