Crane failures continue to dominate the headlines, with several incidents that have occurred over the last few months. Many of these incidents are a result of overloading the crane or operating the crane outside of its working envelope.
Operating any crane beyond its rated capacity has the potential to cause a catastrophic failure of the crane, its support structure or both due to associated loss of control of the load. When control of the load is lost, workers on or near the crane may be exposed to harm.
A brief summary of the following incidents highlights the dangers of using cranes.
Mines Safety Bulletin No. 134
Overloading of bridge and gantry cranes – 2nd November 2016
There have been several bridge and gantry crane incidents reported to the Department of Mines and Petroleum involving the loading of a crane beyond its rated capacity.
In two recent incidents, a crusher bowl (still partially attached to the supporting structure) was being lifted by a semi-gantry crane to allow the bowl to be rotated out of its support using hydraulic powered equipment.
In the first incident, there was a catastrophic failure of the hoisting rope.
In the second incident, the load limiting system (i.e. weight overload protection system) did not stop hoisting when the rated capacity of the crane was exceeded. The load display unit indicated that the hoisting load had reached around 140% of the rated capacity before the emergency stop was manually activated by the crane operator.
Source: Department of Mines and Petroleum
Crane hanging ‘precariously’ from 51st floor of Barangaroo tower – 8th November 2016
A crane was hanging precariously from the 51st floor of the highest tower at Barangaroo in Sydney’s CBD, after it was damaged whilst lowering machinery on Tuesday 8th November.
The boom crane involved in the incident was bolted onto the top of Tower One, and was lowering a track mounted boom lift at the time. A union spokesperson, said the crane was “hanging precariously” from the top of Tower One.
The developer of the building said it was continuing to work with a team of crane experts on a process to safely lower the load and remove the crane from the roof of Tower One.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
This latest incident follows the dramatic collapse of a crane on a building in north Sydney in September, which left three workers dangling from the high rise.
Crane collapse leaves three workers dangling by their safety harness – 25th September 2016
Three workers have been rescued after they were left dangling by their safety harnesses inside the boom of a crane that collapsed on top a North Sydney building site.
The boom of the crane was hanging over the side of the building with three people hanging inside the boom it was reported.
It is believed the three men were in the process of dismantling the crane when the accident occurred.
‘Thank heavens’ for safety harnesses
NSW police said the men were very lucky to be alive – “thank heavens they had their harness on.
The root cause of the incident was unknown although SafeWork NSW said there would be a thorough investigation focusing on the safety systems and controls that were in place by the principal contractor and the safe systems of work and procedures of the crane operator.
Source: ABC News
Crane at South Bank falls into Griffith University building
An investigation has been launched into how a crane has toppled into a building narrowly missing motorists
An onlooker reported the crane was involved in reglazing when wind forced work to stop. The crane was being packed up a short time later when it toppled over.
The crane has crashed into the façade of the Queensland College of Art studio building. Policed closed off street and evacuated the building.
The crane driver was trapped in the cab of the crane and was freed by Emergency Services Officers.
The cuase of the crane failure will be investigated by Queensland Workplace Health and Safety officers.
Source: Brisbane Times