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Cranes topple over when basic lifting rules are not followed

  • What happened?

    Several incidents over occurred in the space of a few months. All had the potential to cause fatality:

    • During works on a large storage tank, a 4x4 forklift extended its boom to reach the highest floor of the scaffold (load 210 kg/460 lbs) and tipped over on its left side.
    • A worker was using a mini-excavator to lift trench covers (300 kg/660 lbs each).  Maximum lift capacity is only 170 kg/375 lbs from the side, causing it to topple over. Operator jumped out (not wearing a seat belt).
    • A worker tried to move 4x4 forklift with the boom well extended.  It toppled over.  A worker was not wearing a seatbelt.
    • Crane was installed without outriggers extracted. As it turned the load with boom extended, the crane tipped over.
    Fallen crane
  • Why did it happen?

    In all cases, the basic rules for lifting operations were not followed:

    • Outriggers not extended.
    • Crane not levelled.
    • Load too heavy.
    • Boom not retracted before moving.
    • Seatbelt not worn.

    In some cases, insufficient training had been given to the workers.

    Workers had an inappropriate attitude to safety.

    Several workers stood next to the fallen crane.
  • What did they learn?

    Outriggers should be placed correctly before any movement of the (telescopic) boom.

    Before telescoping the boom out, the machine (crane, forklift, etc.) should be levelled.

    Before moving a crane the boom should be retracted.

    The safety belt should be worn in all lifting machines.

    A fallen crane lying on its side in a field. The crane is cordoned off with tape.
  • Ask yourself or your crew

    How can something like this happen here?

    How do we make sure cranes are levelled?

    What is the maximum lifting capacity of the crane we are using? How heavy is the load?

    What controls do we have in place to prevent this happening here?  How do we know they will be effective?

    What else can we learn from these incidents?

    A fallen crane lying on its side surrounded by parts of scaffolding lying on the ground.
Published on 21/02/20 1292 Views 4 likes

Several incidents involving cranes topping over occurred in the space of a few months. All had the potential to cause fatality. In all cases, the basic rules for lifting operations were not followed.