Posts Tagged ‘crane operator’

A Year of Injuries, and Lessons


This article was posted on the U.S. Department of Labor Blog

Filed in Español, Safety By Dr. David Michaels on March 17, 2016

In January 2015, we started requiring employers to report any work-related severe injury – such as an amputation or an injury requiring hospitalization – within 24 hours. In the first year, we received 10,388 reports, or nearly 30 a day.

Each report told the story of a man or woman who went to work one day and experienced a traumatic event, sometimes with permanent consequences to themselves and their families. But the reports also created opportunities for OSHA to engage with employers in ways we had never done before, and to ensure that changes were made to prevent similar incidents from happening to others.


We learned things that surprised us, encouraged us and sometimes disappointed us. Today, we published a report of our evaluation that features stories from our offices around the country and reflects on lessons learned in the first year.

Our two main goals for the new reporting requirement were to engage more employers in identifying and eliminating serious hazards themselves, and to allow us to better target our enforcement and compliance assistance efforts to places where workers are most at risk. After reviewing the field reports and associated data, we are confident that both goals are being met.

A few examples explain how:

  • In Chicago, a conveyor loaded with liquid chocolate suddenly started up as a worker was cleaning a roller. Her arm was pulled in and mangled so badly that she required a plate and skin grafting. To prevent future injuries, the employer installed metal guards to shield workers’ arms and hands from moving machinery as well as warning alarms and flashing lights that are activated 20 seconds before the conveyor moves.
  • In Idaho, a valve cover (long known to be problematic) snapped shut on the hand of a truck driver who was loading a tanker, severing his fingertip. After the amputation, the employer devised a new hands-free tool for closing the valve, and alerted the manufacturer and other employers likely to use the same equipment.
  • At a sawmill, a chipper operator’s arm was amputated after he tried to clear a conveyor jam. In response, the owner suspended operations for a week and made improvements that went far beyond what OSHA required, including installing electrical shut-offs within easy reach of all workers, placing catwalks around the entire mill, and providing handheld radios for all employees.

In these cases and many more, employers worked closely with OSHA specialists to protect the safety and health of their workers. In fact, we responded to more than half of all injury reports  not by sending inspectors to the scene but by asking employers to conduct their own incident investigations and propose remedies to prevent future injuries.

At other times, the reported hazards warranted a worksite inspection, and we were able to investigate the incident and determine whether hazards remained.

But we were also disappointed by a handful of employers who went to great lengths to conceal injuries or hazards. In one stunning example, a manufacturer tried to hide an entire production line from OSHA inspectors after a staffing agency reported the amputation of a worker’s finger. Inspectors who uncovered the back room found a row of machinery with exposed parts that could have caused other workers to lose their fingers.

While we have made progress toward ensuring that severe injuries are quickly reported, we believe a sizable proportion of these types of injuries are still not being reported. That’s why we’re developing outreach strategies, including working through insurers, first responders, and business organizations to ensure that all employers know of their obligations to report severe injuries. Those who choose not to report should know that, now that the requirement is in its second year, OSHA is more likely to cite for non-reporting, and we have increased the maximum penalty for not reporting a severe injury from $2,000 to $7,000.

We will continue to evaluate the program and make changes to improve its effectiveness. To help protect the safety and health of the nation’s workers, it is essential that employers report all severe injuries, either by phone or online. Learn more at

Dr. David Michaels is the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

Man Injured in TriBeCa Crane Collapse Plans To Sue City for $30M

A 73-year-old man who suffered spinal and skull fractures after a 565-foot crane in TriBeCa crashed down on him while he sat in his parked car last month is planning to sue the city for $30 million, claiming the city was negligent and reckless.

Thomas O’Brien filed a notice of claim against the city Friday — the first step in eventually suing the city — saying the city is responsible for the massive Feb. 5 collapse on Worth Street that left one man dead because of its “negligence, recklessness and carelessness” in overseeing the safety of the giant crawler crane.

“[The City] knew perfectly well that there were very high winds in the forecast,” said O’Brien’s lawyer Jonathan Damashek. “They knew this was a potentially dangerous crane and they should have taken down that crane early, and fully closed down the street.”

According to city officials, construction workers were trying to lower the Bay Crane Company crawler crane and secure it as 25 mph winds gusted through the area about 8:24 a.m., when it toppled over, sending its 565-foot-long arm smashing onto Worth Street stretching from West Broadway to Church Street.

tribeca crane collapse

Department of Buildings officials had been at the site the day before the accident,officials said, and approved the work being done at 60 Hudson St. The crane had been extended to replace air conditioners and generators on the roof of the building, the former Western Union headquarters.

In the immediate aftermath of the collapse, Mayor de Blasio issued emergency  crane regulations in the city, calling for cranes to be secured when winds were forecast to consistently exceed 20 mph or when gusts were predicted to exceed 30 mph, while a special task force studied best practices for crane operations.

But less than two months after the change, the task force recommended relaxing the restrictions, allowing for cranes to once again operate at 30 mph winds — the city’s original limit — in what critics reportedly saw as a bow to pressure from construction companies.

The group also recommended that cranes unsafe to operate at 30 mph should not be allowed to be used at all.

In the notice of claim, first reported by the New York Daily News, O’Brien, who lives in Massachusetts, says he suffered spinal cord injuries and skull fractures when the crane crushed his car.

The enormous collapse killed 38-year-old Upper West Side man David Wichs and injured several others.

O’Brien’s lawyer said his client is still being evaluated for brain injuries and he may need surgery for his two spinal fractures.

Damashek said they also plan on suing the crane owner, its operator and the owner of 60 Hudson St.

A spokesman for the city law department said the city is reviewing the claim.

A DOB spokesman told DNAinfo New York in a statement that “the cause of the crane collapse on Worth Street remains under active investigation.”

The spokesman added that even though the city has “the most robust crane and construction regulations and inspection requirements in the country,” a task force investigating the accidents is slated to “propose additional best practices and regulations where necessary.”



Father dead, son critical after crane collapse during photoshoot in Brisbane

A man is dead and his son is in a critical condition after the crane they were in collapsed in Newstead, north of the Brisbane CBD, last night.

The pair were taking photographs from the bucket crane when it fell onto Longland Street about 7.15pm.

Witnesses rushed to help and paramedics and firefighters were called to the scene, where they worked to remove the men from the crane.

“It was a tragic incident, very, very lucky, however, that there weren’t other pedestrians in its way,” witness James Small said.

The older man died and his son was taken to the Royal Brisbane Hospital in a critical condition, the Queensland Ambulance Service said.

The younger man remains in a critical condition in hospital.

Longland Street is closed today, with the crane and debris still strewn across the street.

Queensland Police has asked motorists to avoid the area.



Dozens Killed in Mecca Crane Accident

At least 107 people died after accident at the Grand Mosque of Mecca, Saudi officials said

[Video below]

A crane accident at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca killed at least 107 people, Saudi officials said, days before the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage that will see more than two million religious tourists visit the country.

Government officials said a storm that rocked the city on Friday caused the crane’s collapse, which caved in parts of the mosque—the world’s largest—filled with pilgrims.

Footage aired by state television showed police and medical teams attending to bloodied bodies on the mosque’s white marble floors, as high wind and heavy rain lashed the site.

An additional 238 people were reported injured, according to the official Twitter account for the nation’s Civil Defense department.

A spokesman for the health department in Mecca region told the state news agency it was still working to identify the nationalities of the victims.

Prince Khaled al-Faisal, the governor of Mecca, ordered an urgent investigation into the accident, Saudi state television said. He later visited the accident site and ordered officials to begin repairs as soon as possible.

mosque accident

The Grand Mosque pulls Muslims from around the world for the Hajj. Millions, dressed in simple white clothes, perform prayer rituals for what is often a once-in-a-lifetime religious pilgrimage.

Yet the massive crowds have contributed to several tragedies at Islam’s holiest of sites, most of them due to stampedes.

The last deadly incident occurred in 2006, when 346 were killed in a stampede on Mecca bridge. In 1990, a stampede in a pedestrian tunnel in the city killed 1,426 pilgrims, the deadliest Hajj incident in recent history.

Abdur Rahman Laily, a 33-year-old pilgrim from South Africa, said he heard the strong impact of the crane falling from his hotel room near the Grand Mosque. He soon headed to the mosque to see.

“This was one of the tallest and biggest cranes at the mosque expansion project,” he said in a telephone interview from Mecca.

Mr. Laily said the falling crane made a large hole at one of the upper levels used by pilgrims to walk around the Kaaba, a stone cube covered in black at the center of the mosque and known as the House of God.

Workers quickly cleaned the debris but that level was no longer accessible, he said.

The accident has increased pressure on the Saudi authorities at a time they face a series of economic and security challenges.

The oil-rich country is dealing with a sharp drop in the price of crude, which is now at its lowest level since March 2009.

Meanwhile, as it jockeys with Iran for regional influence, it has been spearheading fighting in neighboring Yemen against Houthi rebels, who are accused by the Saudis of receiving support from Iran. The fighting, which aims to reinstall Western-backed president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, has dragged on for more than five months with an estimated cost of more than $1 billion.

Protecting the pilgrims and ensuring their safety is an especially sensitive issue for a country that prides itself as a leader of the Islamic world and where the king’s official title is “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.”

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has limited the number of people allowed in for the pilgrimage to accommodate construction for the city’s expansion projects. The construction at the mosque, set to finish next year, was slated to increase the mosque’s capacity significantly.

Already, more than half a million pilgrims have arrived in the kingdom in preparation for Hajj this year, even as construction continued at the mosque and surrounding areas.

Saudi Binladin Group, the commercial vehicle of the bin Laden family and one of the country’s biggest construction firms, which has been leading the expansion project, had suspended the project on Thursday, according to local daily Saudi Gazette.

The company didn’t immediately respond to requests to comment.

It wasn’t immediately clear who owned the crane.

Saudi officials have warned pilgrims to avoid any actions that might disrupt Hajj.

“Any act contrary to the regulations and instructions while performing the rituals” of pilgrimage “will be treated with the utmost firmness,” the state news agency said last month.

But with waves of people who speak different languages packing into a confined area, crowd control has become a serious challenge.

And public health risks are also on the rise.

Saudi authorities also are attempting to manage concerns about the spread of the lethal Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS. The country reported 34 new cases of the disease last week.

The Kingdom last week announced a ban on the practice of sacrificing camels and sharing their meat with the poor during Hajj—a step taken to limit the spread of the virus, which is believed to have been passed from infected camels to humans.


Crane Collapses While Moving Church Steeple

The boom of a crane removing a 150 year old wooden steeple from a church in Milton, Nova Scotia, Canada on Friday, collapsed dropping it the ground and bringing down the local power lines.

The crane, a Link Belt 8690 truck crane, rented from All Erection was working with a full five section boom plus swing-away extension, and had lifted the steeple clear of the building when it appears to have been caught in the wind a little.

steeple crane 1

The crane lifts the steeple from the church with full stick

The crane slewed round and clearly sensing issues with the boom the operator started to lower it as fast as he could, but it was too late for the boom, the fourth section folded close to its base, dropping the load to the ground where it smashed into a large number of pieces. It also brought down a number of overhead lines tripping the power supply to the area.

crane steeple 2

As the operator tried to lower the load the boom gave way

Thankfully no was hurt or injured and the only damage was to the crane, the power lines and the steeple, which was the first stage in moving the old church to a new location in the town. Crowds came along to watch the event and a full video was taken of the lift as it  happened.

Check out the video below.