ITI Showcase Webinar Archive

How to Manage a Crane Accident

How to Manage a Crane Accident

Enjoy the resources!  You will find the presentation pdf, video, and transcription of the webinar below.   This webinar was originally recorded on May 23, 2013.

Nobody prepares to have a crane accident, but if it happens, do you know all that is involved in managing it?

Guest Speaker, Joe Collins, Heavy Lift Manager at Becht Engineering, shares how to be prepared for the worst:

  • What are the Immediate Actions to be Concerned With?
    • Rescue Teams
    • Press and Media Management
    • Initiate Ivestigation
  • Analyzing the crane's computer
  • Crane disassembly and removal
  • Boom disassembly and repair
  • Uprighting techniques 





Zack: Good afternoon, depending on where you are. This is Zack Parnell, vice president of operations at ITI. Just want to welcome you to our webinar today. We are pretty excited- we got industry expert, long time industry here, Joe Collins, to guest speak “How to Manage Crane Accidents.” Joe is with Becht Engineering. I have seen the presentation, Mike has seen it live; I have gone through presentations – just awesome. Welcome – there’s quite a few people logging in right now, but we’re just going to get started. I’ll go over house-keeping things here in a second, how to put in questions, how to use a chat bar, whatnot. What you can expect today, and about ITI, and what this whole webinar series is about. So, if you’re not familiar with us in this webinar series, we do this once a month, but it’s really because we are an education company – that is really what we do. At ITI, we have companies in Canada, the U.S., and Brazil, and we work quite excessively in Asia as well, but mostly operate in the western hemisphere.

We do have a few customers online today from various industries. A lot of folks who haven’t worked with us yet, so if you want to check us out and learn more about our curriculum and whatnot, feel free to do so, and contact us afterwards. As you can see, we really cover any industry that has lifting activities. There are several folks online from KBR, - I’m just looking up here - from BP, Siemens,  we saw, and Key West, Rio Tinto, HB Bulletin – welcome everybody. The webinar series, if you’re not familiar again, we have several recordings on there, everybody. Our website has an immense amount of information of all these webinars here on the left, there are the recordings, as well as PowerPoint presentations available, so if you want to outfit your rigging/education binder, feel free to go in there and download them all. Information is nothing if it doesn’t improve the industry and improving our minds and knowledge- so, we don’t have any of the future ones up today, but we’ll be having one on equipment and assets, management, RFID, and stuff like that. Very cool. We also want to point out that we do webinar training courses, most of our training is done at customer facilities or our training centers from North America. We have also started our training courses; next week actually, we’re half capacity full already, for the Rigging Gear for Supervisors, so if any of you want to join that – just go to after this. One thing I’d like to chat quickly, before I introduce Joe, a lot of you have never experienced a core semester you might be interested in, at the workshop. We have ITI Workshops, they are regionally specific events, we are doing one in Edmonton in June, McMurray in September and New York in November. They are not only regional, but also industry specific that we’re really going to get into industry specific activity, and we have several guest speakers that are doing it in Edmonton, We have Steve Crosby attending, Michael Brunette from Manage Walk, there is a gentleman from Manage Walk on the phone today, Ken Reynolds from Shell, Jeff Holden from Leah Northern Crane. So, really good opportunities for high impact industry knowledge and help out for industry knowledge. I’ll turn it over to Joe really quickly, and also Mike Parnell is on the phone, he is the president of our company, and his background is heavy in wire rope rigging and be able to handle with a Q&A session and bounce some ideas back and forth with Joe. One thing I’d like to point out is, he’s the Vice Chair of the ASME B30, and Chair of the ASME P30 which should be the new committee releasing this year on lift planning.

Again, I mentioned we have Joe Collins on the phone; I will be turning it to him in one minute. He has 40 years in the industry with Zachary for a long time, and has been on the NCCCO Board of Directors, as well as C-DAC committee, which, I think Joe met a lot of the constituents in D.C. a month or two ago.  He is going to go over how to manage a crane accident. I’m going to turn over to Joe and he’s going to give you some background, as well as Becht Engineering and what he does. Just be ready for a great presentation. So Joe, you should have the screen now, take it away.

Joe: Okay. Give me a second here. Thank you, everyone, for taking your time out to do this today. I hope this presentation is useful, and takes information away that is helpful to you daily. Hopefully, we don’t have crane accidents on a daily basis. A little bit about Becht engineering, I would encourage you to visit our website, that’s, that’s our homepage showing on the screen currently. Getting the technical things correctly. Briefly, Becht Engineering is a service oriented engineering consulting firm that is focused on advising technically, engineering services, and innovated, sustainable solutions for clients world-wide. We are the go-to firm clients approach when a job needs to be done right the first time. If you do get an opportunity, you can go to the website and highlight the window tab up here, and you can read more about the lift services that we provide. It’s taking a little to load. There are some photographs down here you can look at, as well as overview. The primary service that Becht offers is the independent client review of lift contractors and lift plans. We maintain an engineering staff of registered P.E.s, they review the plans for compliance and accuracy, and maximum safety. To add to that, we have field advisors of 30 plus years of experience that go out and make sure that the plans are followed and the federal, and the customer’s safety policies are followed up. In addition to that, we provide crane policy consulting services since the new OSHA rule came out, there’s a lot of people that are still trying to catch up. We’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the major refiners in updating their crane policies.

We do provide crane coordination, crane coordinator services and turnarounds which is one of Becht’s high points. We do a lot of turn-around work, and we also provide expert-witness services when needed. To get back here to the presentation, so much for advertising.

Zack: Like I mentioned, Joe, to launch the meeting- Joe and I thought it’d be good to launch a poll question to get everybody involved and help Joe understand what the audiences’ experience have been like. So I’m going to launch this poll question while Joe gets ready here.  So everyone, you’ll see it coming up on your screen, how many crane accidents have you experienced in your career? Experience doesn’t mean that you caused it or you were directly involved. It means you were on site, or it happened in your organization, it’s not like it happened in Atlanta when you were working in Anchorage at the same company. You know, that’s not what we’re looking for. We’re trying to get an idea. Just think of one or two degrees away, and have some involvement. Joe, I have a couple of questions while answering this. We have about forty percent of the people voted so far. Can you speak a little bit about, a little closer to the mic, having a little bit of trouble hearing you. It looks like we have about 2/3rds of the people voted, so, I’m going to leave it open for another 5 seconds, everybody. Then we’ll get Joe off the presentation, but the results are coming in good. Alright.

Joe: Is the sound a little better now?

Zack: It sounds good to me, but I don’t know if everybody, you’re having difficulties or hearing Joe. You might need to turn up your speakers. I’m on the same speaker as everybody else, and it sounds good to me. That sounds good. I’m going to close the results, and share them. It looks like, Joe if you can’t see this, 30 percent of the folks have not experienced an accident, about 32 percent have experienced one or two, and from there – 22 percent experienced three to five, 9 percent experienced six to nine, and only 8 percent of the folks experienced ten plus. Okay? So I’m going to turn off the results now and that gives you an idea of the attendee’s experience, and we can see your screen now and you can take it away.

Joe: Well, thank you, Zack. I really appreciate it. The answer to the first poll question, in my 40 years of experience, I have been involved with either the clean up or the investigation of the of 30+ crane accidents. To be totally honest, I lost count. As far as the ones I actually witnessed, only in two occasions I was on the project and I actually saw a crane go over. Otherwise, I was always called in after the fact, and tried to figure out what happened, what went wrong, and that sort of thing. In many of the cases, I was actually one of the first responders because I was nearby. I hope that answer was acceptable.

Starting up, no one plans to have a crane accident. We don’t budget for this, the cost can be astronomical. When you start adding the costs up together, you have the cost of the crane itself, or cranes if it’s more than one, damage to nearby structures or equipment, and the big one that a lot of people don’t consider is lost time to schedule, many hard dollar jobs and also lost turnarounds, that cost can be unbelievable high. Not to mention injuries, not only unfortunate but also expensive, if you’ve ever been on that side of the coin. Of course, the worst one that we hate out of all is if we have a fatality and not only is there a lot of a person, but also economical impact as a result of that. All of these things are not budgeted for, which is all the more reason to, number 1 – having good accident prevention plan and good work practices, but also be prepared in the event that one does occur, and increase that operating cost from mistakes. We suggest that, even though you don’t plan to have an accident- no one does, you need to prepare for one in the event that it does occur. In this presentation, we are going to go over some high points, but only for a few minutes, so this is going to be very general in nature. But, I hope what you would take away from this is a thought process, or a way of thinking that you can go on after this presentation and go ahead and develop, work out some solutions for some way of managing. Am I still here everybody?

Zack: we are getting some feedback everybody. Joe, is it on your desk? We’re getting some feedback, you got to make sure you’re not making any noise around the keyboard. Should be good to go.

Joe: I’m ready a little bit. But let me know if this sounds better.

Zack: yeah, that sounds good.

Joe: Okay, we’ll go with that, but let me know if it gets fouled up. We’ll adjust a little bit more. Anyway, in the presentation, we are going to review some rescue tips and how to recognize hazards, how to conduct an investigation in a very general sense, we’re going to discuss removing the damaged crane from the site. One of my strong points here, always on the soap box talking about trying to manage the stored energy that occurs when things are bent or broken, we are going to discuss general, basic, uprising of the crane. Then some crane rescue concepts.

Imagine, if you can, you’re at 5:15 in the afternoon, you’re getting ready to go home for the day, we’re working on a power house job, we’re already thinking about what we’re going to do after work, we got to get mom a birthday present or a valentine’s or whatever it happens to be, but, we’re getting done and folding up our books, and the radio call comes in, and at the base section , the 2250 is buckled and they want to know what to do. This is going to be a very challenging situation. In this specific case, the best thing you can do is evacuate the area. There is literally no way to save this because it’s just a matter of second until she’ll come on down. There are some situations where you might save the crane, but that’s something that shouldn’t be attempted by any inexperienced persons. Then this is what we’re going to talk about, the scene that looks like this – what is the course of action? What do I need to do? What do I need to have in my plan to go forward and not make the situation worse safety-wise or financially? This would be another situation with the crane turned over on a live expressway, okay? The tip of the boom is sticking out into live traffic on the freeway. Very serious has to be managed- you’re going to need all kinds of things to happen and they need to happen real quick. Without a good plan, things can go worse in a matter of seconds. I think the first orders of business would be to assess the immediate dangers. As soon as you are notified, and you can get there as a first responder – are there any serious injuries, minor injuries, is any one trapped? If that is the case, you want to notify fire and rescue immediately. I guess you’ll have those numbers in your pockets or posted by the phone, so you can call, because they all know, sometimes seconds or minutes can mean life or death. When those fire and rescue people show up, it’ll take a few minutes for them to get there. It will give you time to assess if something is hanging loose, if something is going to fall some more. We don’t want to get the fire and rescue people to walk into a trap and become victims as well. It is our responsibility to inform them. They know how to do the rescues, but we need to let them know this is hanging, this is loose, this may come down on you, so it’s not exactly like a car wreck. There’s a lot of things that need to be considered.

That brings us to the second bullet point: is the crane or the affected structure secure? Again, we want to assess the danger, just visually before those people arrive, and explain the situation to them of your observations, let them see it. Ultimately, they’re going to do what they want to do, but at least you have informed them to the best of your abilities. I can assure you that accidents such as this we read about in New York city, if there’s a fatality or multiple fatalities, the rescue teams will dominate your site. You’re not going to have anything to say about it. They are going to take control, they are going to be in charge until they get all the injured and fatalities removed in the situation. In a lot of cases in the city, they will remain there and stay in charge, so your role at that time would be to support them and assist equipment with expertise on rigging, which they may not have. Again, we are going to assess the immediate dangers. Are there hazards to the public or other job personnel? Immediately, we need to barricade the area and as well to prevent entry by any non-essential persons. This also serves to preserve the site for any later investigations. Here is the big one, if it’s in the city, and it’s not on private property in a festive area, the news folks are going to show up, the CNN people are a big one, as well as Fox News. Who will get them a statement? I want to caution you that, while most companies have a public relations person, but if it’s you, and you don’t have someone in that position, I encourage you, when you are doing interviews with the press, only give facts. Do not speculate as to the cause, as whatever you say will be on the 10 o’clock, or the 5 o’clock, or all day long. Depending on how serious it was. But be very careful of what you tell them, but only give facts. Speculation can come back and haunt you in a litigation side of things, if it happens to go there, and it often does.

You need to initiate an investigation, once the injured are cared for, if the scene or the site is now stabilized, it’s barricaded- any folks that need to be removed are removed, now they need to start an investigation. I’ve seen numerous cases, in my career, where the operator was fired before the dust settled. Unfortunately, that’s the first person we need to talk to. So we want to get statements from everyone, all the witnesses as soon as possible. I would encourage you, all these investigations do take a long time, so take the initial statements and then come back a day or two, or several days later, and interview them again. The reason I say that is because these things tend to be very traumatic. All they saw during the first interview may be – I saw the boom coming down, and dust went everywhere, and stuff was flying, and I was running. But after a day or two, they begin to calm down and their memories begins to come back.

We’ve seen this very often, that they’re able to add to their comments a little later on. Something that I’m guilty of is leading the witness. Some things are just painfully obvious, you can just see clearly, at a glance, what happened – but you need to let them tell their story. I’m very guilty as well, the crane turned over – were you out of short, were you doing this, were you doing that, I can see out riggers- you know – don’t go there. Let them tell their story, because once you start putting words in their mouth, they are just going to let you tell the story, you won’t have good statements. Continuing that investigation, after we’ve done our interviews, now it’s time to examine the site and the crane. There are going to be some cases, for example, with the crane and the boom in the highway that has to be moved immediately. In other cases where this equipment and damaged product has not been removed, we want to take pictures, and careful measurements. We need to record everything we see, even if it’s insignificant. One of the things that I noticed, looking at investigations, where I didn’t visit the site – they sent me a bunch of pictures, I see a picture of a hole in the ground with an eight ball in, well that doesn’t help me at all. That doesn’t assist the folks that are trying to figure it out. We need to get back and take pictures in a broad sense, if you will, so you can see the outrigger, you can see the feet position and the boom, a heave rolled up in a pile does not have much value. So be thoughtful in your picture taking. Again, you want to note everything you see. Keep a note with you, and as you take a picture, you might want to make a note of what it is you’re taking a picture of. You want to have tape measures, square, accurate indicators – you want to check the boom angle, if it’s a hydraulic forward scoping crane, it can tell you a lot. If it’s a crawler crane, if you actually measure the boom length hoist, and it’s extended, you can use that to measure the boom angle, and also the radius of the boom. Outrigger extensions, note matting, if it’s on the ground, if a load was attached in the final position, that will tell us a lot, the condition of the ground and so forth. The more information you can gather, the better. Be very thoughtful in that process.

Something that we have now-a-days that we did not have years ago, most of the cranes today are equipped with data loggers in their computer system. They are a wonderful help those data loggers. I can remember one situation where a crane turned over and we were able to download the data logger. I can see second by second, the hook and the boom angle, increasing and decreasing, finally went off the page. Be prepared to look at this printout and see the crane roll over. It was very interesting. This is extremely valuable. If you’re not an experienced technician, get a hold of the distributor or the factory manufacturer and get their advice as to who can get you that data log. There is a lot of valuable information there. In most cranes today, the last configuration will be present when the key is turned on. This is helpful for a crane operator. If they go to lunch, they come back to it 30 minutes, they turn on the key, and it brings them right back to everything is set. You just hit okay and nothing changes. That would be helpful to you to be prepared- don’t turn on the key until the technician is in place. As a matter of fact, it’d be good to have the distributor or back of the technician there before you attempt to turn the key on. A lot of times, the computer will reset itself and valuable information is lost. I don’t know why I put this picture in here, it doesn’t really seem to be anything, but it gives you an idea of what a display may look like. You got the program here, if you look at the information on here, only a technician would understand what the configuration of the air hold and so forth, we won’t go out on that. 

To complete the investigation, some crane accidents are minor in nature and are easy to figure out. The outrigger sink into the ground, you turn over, the joker broker turned over backwards – something very easy to understand. Other situations can be extremely complex and will require weeks or months of forensic study to determine the root cause. I’ve been on a few of those, and they are real hair-pullers – you try to figure it out, test the limit switches, you know. A lot of things can be involved and take a lot time. There will be, in some cases, that will never be totally solved, but using all the information that was gathered, you can narrow it down to a few possible causes in order to determine a prevention plan. As with anything, when something happens, we don’t want to have to happen again. We want to learn from our mistakes, so that’ll be the value – even if you can’t solve it, you can at least get a good idea of what went wrong.

Moving on, want to time it fast, we got a lot of material and I want to have some time for some questions. Removing the crane from the site, this is the most complicated and hazardous part. Highlighted in red: there is no instruction manual for this! I called the distributor, I called the factory, and they say, I can get you somebody, but it’s not in the books – we just don’t write those things down. It might be out there, but I haven’t found one yet. If you don’t have the distributor, or your manufacturer doesn’t have one there, it is advisable to consult a registered professional engineer who is experienced in cranes and rigging. The engineer can calculate center of gravity for crane up-righting and design the complex unique rigging applications required for handling bent and broken components. I have actually been on some, and can show some pictures a little later, one where we had to design a 4-way bridle with 4 different length slings to pick this piece and remove them. We’ll talk about that when we get to the picture. Another thing, again, if it’s not in a public space or if it’s possible to leave things alone, contact your insurance carrier before attempting to move anything. They like to come out and take pictures, measurements and things themselves, and oftentimes, it’s a very expensive loss for them, they will bring their own experts in to evaluate and do an investigation of some kind simultaneously with your experts, sometimes independent.

Be sure to get your insurance guy on the horn and get him over there, as soon as possible. Stored energy. I’m on my soap box all the time over this. So many times I’ve heard of these horror stories where a crane went over and everybody walked away, nobody was hurt. Then we got there with a cutting torch, the next thing you know, a boom sprung up and killed him. It’s just not acceptable. Anytime there’s energy stored in the crane working, there’s also stored energy present when the boom is damaged, or twisted, or something else. This energy has to be released in a controlled manner. Never use a cutting torch unless there is no other way. If a torch is necessary, I’ve actually used one on the end of the scaffolding pole 10 feet away where I can just melt it. It will get on you and it will hurt you.

Again, many workers have been seriously injured or killed disassembling bent booms and jibs. We want to restrain all boom, jib and crane components before disconnecting. The release the energy a little bit at a time until the energy is completely released. Don’t cut it loose and let it flop, because it could flop your direction and hit you. It may look like it’s going to flop the other way, and then it will flop towards you, between, which is not good. I recommend, a couple of methods, for controlling and releasing that stored energy gradually. One is an old-fashioned, mechanical “pin puller,” while you’re pouring for the ore work, you can see here, these three boxes – basically, represent the male and female boom connections, and the red lines here represents a boom pin. To get inside and drive that out would be extremely hazardous – to cut it with a torch is even worse. You can, a lot of times, get in here and weld a hut, to the end of the pin, install an all-three rod. The green line represents a piece of pipe, and so you’ll get the diameter at the head of the pin, the pale blue represents a steel plate, and this section here is the center pole porta-piler with another nut. By installing this,  you just have to make one weld to put this all together, then you can get a thirty or a forty foot boom for your ram, and you can literally pull that pin from a distance. So if it does flop, it’s not going to flop on top of you or your coworker. Okay, I highly recommend the pin puller, it takes time to weld all these nuts on here, I’ve had very good success with a three puller inch diameter rod, and the nut, you put a little bit of weld on it and those pins will come out fairly easy. They tend to pull easier than they push.

Another method to control that energy is to use come-alongs and cross chain diagonally. I will show a sketch, a demonstration of that, in the next slide. Basically, from cross-chaining that by most side of the boom, then using your pin puller, you can actually pull those boom pins out, and this thing won’t move if it’s done properly. Then you can go up and approach it, and gradually let off one of the chain falls, nothing happens, you tighten it back up, you can slack off another one, not against the move. You can see which way it’s going to move, then you can gradually release that energy by slacking off the chain fall and not just letting it fly up in the air.

The dark bold lines represent how you would attach your chain falls, and you do that on opposite sides of the boom. This is just a suggestion, then you can release these two and see if it wants to go down,  or release these two and see if it wants to go up – that energy is trying to get out. We don’t know where that energy is, but with adjustable come-alongs and some adjustable device, we can gradually release that energy once we know where it is, and how it wants to dissipate itself. It wants to relax. So we just have to do it on our terms and not just let it go crazy.

Up righting the crane.  I’ve heard again, and I’m sure we all have, so many horror stories where a simple crane tips over. No big deal. We bring in another crane and before you know it, we topped in on the one that is already turned over. It happens all too often.  The key to up-righting the crane is to understand the center of gravity of the crane, understand where it is and allow for that. As you start to up-right the crane, the center of gravity is forward, okay? If the crane is turned over to the front, the center of gravity is going to be forward than topple center, as you raise that up, when that CV passes, it tosses center, so we need to have a back-up crane, or some kind of hold back system not to allow it to fall all the way back over. I’ve actually heard a story, where they were up righting one, it passes center so hard it was brought back the other way. That would be embarrassing, certainly, if not extremely dangerous. But we want a holdback device, so if you use two cranes, or a crane and a tow truck, or whatever method you decide on, it’s a good practice to oversize those significantly, like 2 or 3 to one. The reason for that is, we don’t have any instruction book. We can do our best estimates on where that CD is, and what each crane will be holding, but we want to oversize the cranes to allow for any kind of shock load. Let’s say it flops a little bit, if it flops hard, and you’re near capacity, it’ll pull at the end of your assist crane, so you’ll want a big enough crane, so when it flops over, and unexpectedly, It’s not going to tear up our equipment. I always oversize them as high as possible, within reason.

Another mistake that I see all the time is, they’ll tie the hold back crane and rigging crane to something that is either damaged or not securely attached. For example, the counterweight on this crane, has two small pins to hold it on. There’s more than sufficient to hold the counterweight on under normal operation, but it’s not intended to rig on the entire weight of the crane okay? So you want to be sure, whenever you rig onto it, not to come loose, it’s not going to be pulled off such as this one. If you don’t pull on the counter weight on this one, the bouts will probably break and counterweight would come disconnected from the crane, then we got another problem.

Simple physics here, you’re going to be lifting with one crane, lowering with the other one. Again with this case, both cranes are oversized, the anticipated load, I get questioned by people, why do you have such big cranes here? Because I don’t want any more broken things, we have already got enough damage. As you lift, that center of gravity is going to start moving towards top dead center, so the tail end crane, I call it, will literally have no load. This will be a no load in this position, this one will have a full load. Moving forward.

Around in this area, this center of gravity is going to be passing what I call top dead center. So this tail end crane is going to gradually take some load, this operation needs to be on extremely slowly. There’s’ no hurry, we’re going to take our time, we’re going to just gradually move things, just one inch at a time, to see what we’re going to do, okay? At this point, the tail end crane is going to take in load, and here shortly, the lifting crane will be released of load, oak?

As it comes on down, you can’t see the lifting crane, but at this point, the tail end crane has successfully lowered this gently back onto this outrigger. I want to point out, if you can see here in the corner, that outrigger is bent, the one on the back side, is also bent. So moving forth going into this, once we get this back up-right, we still have to do something with it. We need to load it on a truck and take it to the shop, okay?

  ‘s hard to see in the shadows, we had enough foresight, while it was still up, we put some cribbing underneath the tire, some cribbing underneath the back tire, the tip side, so that when it came down, and came back on its feet again, we were able to lower these outrigger cylinders, retract these cylinders on this side, allowing for these cylinders up in the air. Just a few inches, so that we can actually pull the beam out, because it’s not going to scope in, we can’t drive in like that, so those kinds of things are important to think about before you roll it over, otherwise, you’re going to rig it again to roll it up and get those beams out. Just a note there.

Crane rescues have been accomplished successfully many times. The picture on the left, the crane was working in a loafing jib configuration, the operator error, he built it up to the bypass until the boom base section, severely, none of us on the site felt it was safe to boom it down because its lacings were actually disconnected. You see where that basket is, many of them were bent. And the main cords were also bent. But this wasn’t as bad as that first picture we saw, where it was really buckled. With advice from the manufacturer, we attempted a rescue, we were able to weld some support beams in place where the lacings were bent and disconnected, and with the manufacturer’s approval, we were able to boom this crane down and save the crane, save the boom, it can be done, but I really want to make the point that this should never ever be attempted unless you have experience or the distributor, manufacturer, or the professional engineer or all of them are there to assist. You can get in really big trouble doing this, it can be extremely hazardous. I would advise you, do not attach an assist crane to it, because again, if the whole thing buckles, it could be buckle while your folks are up there attaching it, as soon as you tighten up on the assist crane, it could be just enough to cause that buckling of the section, assuming that is what it is. Don’t attempt to attach an assist crane to it, evacuate the area, until you get some experienced help, professional people. Okay?

That’s in the daylight, we worked on that all night. We found some steel, sufficient strength, and basically just reinforced that, where the damage was. We had safely been doing this crane down. In conclusion, as we said in the beginning, no one plans to have a crane accident. However, we should all have a plan for managing an accident if it should occur. Just to go over a few points, things to include in your plan should be: know and post the Emergency Response Numbers, that’s including your distributor, Rental Company, factory folks – I would encourage you to call your crane distributor, your dealer first. They would in turn, if they need it, get a hold of whoever is appropriate at the factory level. But if you can’t get the dealer at a time of emergency, I know that the factory will come to your aid and advise you. Assign someone the responsibility for assessing the danger, who’s going to be in charge? We don’t want everybody running around and yelling, giving orders. We want someone to be in charge, and assist the emergency response team. So let’s pick that person in advance, the most experienced rigger or crane person on the site will be appropriate. In that event, that person is going to be in charge. Know and post the manufacturer’s numbers, that should include the distributor, manufacturer, and if it’s a rental machine, you want to get a hold of your rental company. Assign someone the responsibility for talking to the news people. I can tell you with the cell phone cameras, and cell phone videos, you can’t keep anything secret even in the most secure site. Those pictures are going to get out. I was going to pick up a crane, it broke, I had about an hour drive, the crane had fallen down while I was on my way over there, and I had 5 or 6 calls from associates of mine who I’ve worked with over the years, and “I heard you got a crane down?” and I said, “how did you know that? I’m not even there yet.” In this day and age with communication, and those pictures and stories will go out quick. Again, that’s important when you are talking to the press, or any folks of that nature, that you only give the facts that you know. Everything else is being e-mailed around, and texted back and forth, all that doesn’t make much difference. At the end of the day, the case will be decided on the facts. Don’t move anything unless you have to care for that injured, as we said, maybe open up the road for traffic. Take pictures and measurements of everything, don’t take a picture of the hole in the ground, that doesn’t help investigators. Take pictures that we can actually see things.

Interview all the witnesses. Interview them a couple of times after they had had a chance to calm down. Have the manufacturer or distributor download the computer and the fact clean-up using sound engineering practices.  Here just a few pictures. We have a few minutes left. I’m going to go over here, a picture of a very nice machine, it was one of my jobs and we had it rented. The hurricane was coming, and sure enough, the hurricane got there and it broke this beautiful machine. This was quite a challenge to get this moved, and the gantry down, from around 250 foot elevation, we had to bring in some very large cranes, one to carry people up there the other one to handle the load, you can see a side view there from the side of the power plant, this was quite an interesting recovery, to say the least. It took several weeks. Again, you don’t want to be in a hurry. Any time you get in a hurry, that’s when you are going to make mistakes, that’s when people are going to get hurt. We literally went into the basket and we weld it nuts, and used pin pullers to disassemble this boom. I don’t know if you can see how the boom is racked over to one side, and it’s sloping down. We disconnected it here, with a pin puller, we disconnected over on the roof with a 4-way bridle, every sling had to be a different length. We went through the trouble of taking transit level, and we took shots so we can give those slings exactly the right length, so that this thing didn’t roll, turn, we lifted it right off of the boom connector sockets, it didn’t sway, move or swing at all. There were things below we couldn’t damage.   So we couldn’t let anything fall.

Now if you can see there, it went through the roof of the power plant. Interestingly enough, this roof was compromised, it was not only a big hole, several of the main support girders were damaged. They had to be supported from the inside before we can even walk around here. We had a crew run up here, it could’ve caved in the rest of the way, we would have lost people down in the hole. There again, you got to look at the whole picture, you got to evaluate the dangers and the risks, and hazards involved. In this case, as I mentioned, there had to be reinforcing up there in the roof before we can even go in and touch the crane boom.

Another, here is where we disconnected with the pin puller and we also cross chained this with come alongs, both sides. We got all four of the pins off, we started slacking falls one at a time, we saw which way it wanted to move,  we release that energy on our terms. We didn’t just let it go its own way. It took weeks without any additional injuries or additional damages to the power plant. This was an unusual situation, where the operator went to lunch and left the engine running, and accidentally hit the boom down lever which just kneed after taking down the crane, gaging the boom down. They were across the street getting a whopper burger and noticed the boom fell. Had the boom down this cower that couldn’t support its own weight, dependent lines upon slack, and it buckled right here at the pin connector. Again, we used to cranes because we weren’t sure if this will break, so we hooked one crane down here, hooked one crane up here – I’m sorry. More in this area. By calculation, we figured about where the CG was. So we hinged this with a pin puller, twisted it over, and out of the way. Without even re-rigging, we were able to remove the boom flip pin with the pin puller, and set that over out of the way. It was costly, but it was recovered.

This is not the way to inspect the undercarriage. This thing had little creepers folded. We can roll it over there- that was supposed to be a joke – but any way. I’m not a very good comedian, I’ll keep my day job. This situation was one where the computer told the story. This was operator error. The operator lifted that seat container, they were all in line, in line with this one, so he lifted that container over the right front corner of the outrigger, where it has maximum stability. But he was out of the charts, severely overloaded, when the operator swung the container over in front of the crane, of course that’s kept the cord from being shortened. Now he lost his stability, and the crane went over. We were able to determine that by downloading the computer and taking measurements here. That concludes my presentation, again, thank you very much. I’ll open the floor to questions.

Mike: Okay Zack, am I on active?

Zack: Yep, we can hear you. Joe, I muted you because we were hearing some echo when mike speaks. Go ahead, Mike.

Mike: okay, I just wanted to see if we had any questions. I have a couple of pieces of information, for folks, but first wanted to see if Joe had – if there were any questions for Joe. We could just respond to right away. Then I’d like to share a piece of information about active investigation site. So let’s see what we have for questions, if any had been typed in, Zack, during the delivery.

Zack: Yeah. Before I do that, Joe, I just want to talk about – we have 2 or 3 questions for the audience, based on what they saw and their experience. We do have two or three questions that came in. so everybody, I am going to release the next question – you’ll see up there on the screen. You can type up there any questions you have as well, as we’re answering this, after you’ve answered. The question is, in non-fatal/non-injury accidents, in your experience, which had been very difficult to manage? So after Joe’s presentation, what have you found to be the most difficult to manage if you had experience in accident? So, go ahead. Looks like we have quite a few votes coming in now. It’ll be open for another 20 seconds or so. Joe, while I do that, I want to ask you one of the questions that came in, it says “please discuss some tips on how to evaluate or secure the stability of class cranes, how do you prevent further shifting of unstable structures? And how do you do demolition or restoration work regarding getting a crane back to position for recovery and investigation?” I’m going to umute you, if you want to chat on that.

Joe: okay, that’s a very good question. Unfortunately, there’s not a short answer to that because every situation is so very different. Some things will be very obvious, where lashing, chain falls, things can be used to secure something that is dangling, or is to tip one way or the other. At the end of the day, I would encourage you to consult a registered professional engineer that is familiar, works with rigging and cranes to assist you in coming up with designs for securing the machine or the boom.

 Zack: Okay, Joe. Thanks for that. I just have the results as well. So, looks like most people found the investigation and the crane removal the most difficult. As well as managing the customer relationship. Joe, I have a question for you based on this topic, I remember in a presentation, there wasn’t a discussion on the customer relationship, but, could you touch on – I know you usually come in as a third party, you’ve never been involved – have been at fault for a crane accident. But what? Basically, when faults happen, when there’s someone at fault, what usually happens to the customer relationship, or are customers typically understanding? What is the typical fall out from an accident like that.  It might be a really dumb question, but I’m going to ask it.

Joe: it’s not a dumb question at all, although I didn’t cover that in the presentation, it is certainly a valid point. If you could imagine, the first thing that happens with you contract or client relationship is now there’s a trust issue. They trusted you to bring your crane in there and perform safe work. Now, got a crane lying across their facility, or their property, possibly damaged like in the power plant picture, that was irate. They were distrustful, and it was my job , along with removing and rebuilding the crane so that we can fix the project. It was my job to assure them that we could safely take all that down. We were going to fix that roof in their plant. And that it was all going to be back to normal, despite the schedule delays – which was the biggest deals. The first thing I’m going to say is, they’re going to be distrustful. You’ve earned their confidence when they awarded the job, but now that confidence is pretty much dissolved. So that would be the biggest obstacle, is to bring in your most professional people, or even enlist a third party, to demonstrate your most professional thing possible. As well as follow up with a prevention plan to show, you know what, we’re sorry this occurred, but, these are the firm steps that we’ll be taking to prevent further occurrences.

Zack: Excellent. Great answer. You made me feel better about asking dumb questions. Go ahead, Mike.

Mike: I’ve got some notes based on Joe’s response. If you put my notes up, you can kind of get a low-down reply of what Joe just highlighted. So if you switch to my screen, we can just go to there.

Zack: I’m going to close this poll. If you didn’t see this question, it’ll go back to your screen once this question is over, guys. But we have one more – if you have any,  in your organization’s experience, which elements have led to the most crane accidents? And we have about 60% of everybody who voted, so if you didn’t vote, get in there – but it’s regarding structural, mechanical failure, relation issues, and a few others. Getting votes in now. Mike, I have one more poll, so do you want me to go to your screen first?

Mike: That’s fine, absolutely. Go right ahead. Okay. So if I close this poll and share it. While I do this, Joe, I’m going to feed you another question. Matt Dima from Ford, he’s a rigging engineer I believe, either out of Georgia or California, but he asked about – how much support should you expect from the crane manufacturer and the insurance carrier during the active investigation process?

Joe: well, unfortunately, the insurance carrier isn’t going to, in my experience, be a lot of help. But going through your local distributor and then conveying that to the manufacturer, is a very acceptable process with great response. All of my career I’ve had wonderful assistance, creative thinking, a lot of times I just wasn’t sure what to do, I would make my suggestion to the factory or the distributor, call those technicians and professionals. Again, they have engineers as well. Good team combination of folks with their ideas. To answer the question, I’ve had wonderful assistance, response, from crane manufacturers in all makes and models. I’ve had very poor experience with insurance carrier. They’re there, pretty much, for a different reason.

Zack: Makes sense, thanks for summing that up. Everybody, I have the last poll question up. In your experience, which crane types have been a part of the most accidents? I think this is a single select. This might be a little skewed probably, because theirs is a lot more mobile crane on earth than anything else, but, certainly it depends on what industries you work in. I’ll leave that open for another 3 seconds here. I’m going to switch to Mike after that. We had a question come in, Joe, regarding, how important is reviewing service maintenance records in operating manuals? I assume that is a question regarding investigation processes if you want to touch on that.

Joe: I have found, in my career, numerous cases where a crane accident resulted in a lack of maintenance. Certain components of the crane failed, because they were not maintained per the manufacturer’s recommendations. I would say that you cannot do a thorough accident investigation without reviewing the manufacturer’s instruction manuals, rented maintenance manuals, maintenance manuals and the like. All the information on that machine needs to be reviewed, as far as crane configuration, cable labels, the block – it’s not possible to do a thorough investigation without reviewing all that literature.

Zack: Terrific. Here’s a couple more questions, Joe, you have to mute every time that’s technology for you. John asked – would it be a good idea to stand a job down, briefly explain what happened in your other  craftsman, and what was lacked, and have their mind on the tap. I have seen crafts people traumatized after witnessing an event at an accident.

Joe: this is becoming more and more the norm – I highly recommend it. Especially, initially, when it occurs, so everyone can be brief. Don’t go over there- stay away from the barricade, everybody’s fine. We got the people to the doctor. Number 1, calm them down, that’s one stand, then what I’m seeing in the reclining business, refining factories, is once everything is stabilized and the wreckage is removed, all the folks know what they’re doing, we have another stand down to go over what happened and preventative measures. Obviously, to help everybody feel better, but also give them an idea of what not to do. I highly recommend that stand down procedure or practice, is extremely effective.

Mike: Okay. What I’d like to share – thanks for the questions to everyone – I’d like to wrap this up a little bit. We do have a new activity that will be operated in September. It’s in Washington. It’s an excellent investigation training site, at our training center here in the yard, we’ll have a mobile crane, a forklift and rigging. With different scenarios set up out in the yard as a result of the important series of decisions that have been made, we actually have a crane overturned in the yard. Mobile crane overturned, forklift overturned, and also a rigging accident. So it will be three separate site points for the group to dissemble. There’ll be a two-day course, operated in September, and it will be reviewed partially – causation on-site, root analysis, evaluating witness accounts,  determine violations ,and corrective actions. If we can, we are going to see if we can get Joe to come and join us, it may end up with a strong discussion and workshop point in discovery for those incidents as they fit. This is a new offering by ITI, it is very tightly tied to the presentation today, and some of the things we do as a service company on evaluation is also about accidents, just like Joe.  So, this is a new offering that will be probably targeted not only to crane operators, riggers, but especially to safety personnel and management folks that need to deal with accidents and estimates as they arrive. Some injury, some fatality, and some not fun, but it’s about equipment damage, property damage, and other issues that arise from that. We’ll have a broadcast announcement about that program, I do believe, September 2013 in just about three month or four months, we’ll end up with a large announcement about that, and invitations for those who’d like to attend to be at the main board program for this 2-day course. We’ll have equipments in there. It’s a full crane turned over in a yard, we’ll have issues related to the accidents, we’ll have just works to contain results related causation, violation, and all of that action. It should be a pretty exciting week. We’re working, probably targeting the second week September. Just as a close-up, we just want to make sure to offer that to you, and you’ll be on the recording of the webinar today, will be receiving invitations to get the announcement to participate and join us for that week.

We appreciate Joe for his participation and presentation today, a marvelous program. Great way to get to the heart of the matter for what to do, the way to do it, and who should be involved. In the new P30 document, we have emergency response as a major list on a critical list plan, much to what Joe addressed today. Who to talk to, what plan should be in place, how to involved different personnel on site, and get outside response to help and so on. We hope that’s never used, but it needs to be on plan. What do we need to do in case? Joe has brought that to us today very well, and we very appreciate his contribution today. Not only to this webinar, but certainly to our whole industry in the last 40 years. I hope we’re operating better and safer today than we were 40 years ago. It is people like Joe that brought us to that point. Zack, I’m going to let you close this out. If you’re still on here, I’d like to thank Joe, and Becht Engineering for letting us borrow him for today’s presentation. He is certainly a premier professional in a very important subject that can help save folks downstream. The comments I heard folks say a couple of years ago, quite often, is poor people get hurt in a crane recovery process ever than in a crane accident itself, that’s why this is such an important discussion point is that we don’t get injured after the accident is over because of the compression and intention with all the structures trying to go different directions unexpectedly. That is why it’s so importantly to have, really, quality folks involved and assist. Getting direct assist to contain, and then manage down to inner position. The stored energy comment is really a trigger that helps us keep our hands, fingers, toes and our bodies upright. Joe, thanks so much for your participation. Zack, I’ll turn it back to you.

Zack: Thank you very much. I want to say thank you, Joe, as well on behalf of ITI – I do have one more question -  came in right before Isabel – one thing I want to mention to everyone attending, you can access the recording, which will be up in 24 hours, but also the management file that Joe has graciously given record to at so you make sure you go and get the file. As I mentioned before,  Joe, this question came in regarding safety folks – how many safety execs have you seen charged with criminal charges, or jail time for negligence or something like that?

Joe: Historically, no one had charges pressed against them. Three or five years ago, and further back, what we’re seeing today – I’m not aware of very many. I know that the responsibility is being distributed across the board, the controlling entity has the responsibility with their cranes on the site, if they hired someone, contracted them to bring the cranes in, the crane owner has responsibility as we saw with Mr. Omar from New York who had manslaughter charges brought up against him. By the way, he was found innocent of those accusations. The things is, they went after him and put him in prison. He was able to prove that it wasn’t anything that he did. I just think that going further and further into the future, as new crane rules take a firm hold in an industry, we’ll see more and more people not only be subject to litigation, law suit, and civil suit, but we’re going to see some people go to jail.  

Zack: I agree. I’m sure Mike can comment on that with a lot of investigations he’s done. Thank you again, Joe, I really appreciate it. I have a feeling I’ll get a lot of e-mails that I’ll get from attendees and thanks. Make the industry better and we appreciate you spreading the knowledge. On the screen here, everybody, there’s access to Joe’s presentation when you click “view past webinars” right here. I’m sorry, you’re not actually looking at my screen. Anyways, you go to and you’ll find how to do that. Joe, I want to give you the last word, buddy. Again, I really appreciate it, we really appreciate it.

Joe: Again, thank you all, very much for your time and I hope that you were able to take something away from this. It may be useful going forward. I would encourage everyone to work safe and work smart.

Zack: Terrific. Thanks Joe, and thank you everybody for joining us this Friday weekend. Again, check out the webinars workshops, and Becht Engineering, as well as,  as well as investigation course. We’ll send out an e-mail to you all for information on that, when it’s going to be and so on.  Have a great weekend, thank you.