Crane Accidents - Lessons to be learned.

Outrigger accident

A brand new 250 tonne Liebherr All Terrain crane working on the first floor of a new building under construction in Castle Hill, north of Sydney.

The crane a 250 tonne Liebherr sets up for work

The crane, which had only been delivered nine days earlier is owned by local rental company Gillespies, and was installing prefabricated walls when one of the outriggers punched through the slab floor causing the crane to tip, until the boom came to rest on the wall of the building. The operator managed to jump from the cab falling around three meters to the floor.

Then over it goes

The cause? the outrigger loadings proved too much for the floor

The crane remained in an unstable condition and within the hour it had fallen through the first floor to the ground level, with the boom resting on the remainder of the first floor wall and hanging over an adjacent industrial premises.

It did not stop there!

The 'floor' gradually swallowed the crane

The crane driver suffered minor bruising to his ankle, but no one else was injured.


...It came to rest on the ground floor

Engineers are continuing to monitor the site and WorkCover inspectors have commenced an investigation.

Vertikal Comment

Gillespies is a first class reputable company that takes safety extremely importantly. Established since the early 1950's it prides itself on providing a quality service.

Given this, it is hard to understand how this accident happened, it looks as though the new floor simply did not perform as intended, however, one cannot but help wonder if this would have occurred if larger outrigger mats had been used to spread the load reducing point loading's?

It does go to show that even when you have the engineers information on allowable loading's it is wise to assume they are off and build in a larger margin of safety.

Crane tips.

A mobile crane tipped over on Wednesday at the Yeongam Formula One circuit in South Korea damaging part of a main grandstand.

Korea is due to stage the grand prix on the 24th October but was not ready for the standard pre-race approval inspection normally due 90 days prior to the race. A last minute inspection is scheduled for October 11th.

The boom landed in the main stand

The crane, a fairly dated Japanese truck crane, appears to have been overloaded, as everything else is intact. Saying that, the outrigger set is poor, with rustic cribbing on one side and nothing under the outrigger that sits on the pristine track. However outrigger set up was most definitely NOT the cause here.

The outrigger set-up standards are very poor, especially for an interenational venue such as this

Reports claim that the venue has yet to be completed and while the crane boom appears to have done little damage it certainly will not help the situation.

In spite of the problems the tracks managers have told the FIA that it will be complete and ready to host the race.

Outriggers or overload?

A 50 tonne truck crane tipped over on a major project in
Turkmenistan last week, but what caused it?

The official incident and sharing report stated that the crane was lifting a bearing plate from a storage area to a designated installation area when it tipped.

Note the outrigger mats in the road

It adds that the outriggers were fully extended and the crane was in good working condition. The blame is clearly placed on soft ground affecting the cranes stability.

The outrigger beams fully retracted

However the crane, an XCMG was clearly set up with outrigger mats and that while the mats on the softer ground were probably too small the outriggers have not punched through the grounds or sunk that deeply into the sandy soil.

The ground is soft but has not given way entirely

A closer look

What has clearly happened is that the outriggers on the side of the crane opposite to the load, have lifted allowing the crane to tilt, the outrigger beams on the opposite side have then retracted rapidly as the extension cylinders have broken free, causing the crane to shift across the road and tip over. The initial cause of the tip could have been the soft ground moving or simple overloading.

The boom looks to be a write-off

Whats your view?
As far as we know no one was injured in the accident.

Outrigger accident

A crane installing an air handling unit on a Medical Centre in Dodge City, Kansas, tipped over yesterday after the Asphalt gave way under the cranes outriggers.

The crane's boom came crashing down on the building

No one was injured in the accident but it caused damage to the unit and building.

The unit had just been lifted over roof when the crane, a Grove TMS 865 truck crane, began to tip. The crane was equipped with outrigger mats but they were on the cranes deck rather than under the jacks.

Look at where the outrigger mats are

Outrigger failure causes crane overturn

September 20, 2011 | Comments (3)
A large loader crane overturned in Heerde, the Netherlands today after one of its outrigger beams snapped. The boom came down onto the roof of a house killing one of the men working on the roof.

The accident occurred in a residential street

The outrigger beam failure caused the accident

The 45 year old construction worker was believed to have been employed by Manina BV a local roofing company that also owned the crane. He is believed to have been guiding and spotting the load of roofing material when it came down.

The fallen crane was later recovered by another loader crane with a suspended platform used by the slingers.

The rescue involved suspended platform and a larger loader crane

Crane crashes into shopping mall

April 8, 2013 | Comments (8)
An All Terrain crane crashed through the roof of a shopping centre in Johannesburg, South Africa this morning seriously injuring a man.

The crane, a five axle Grove GMK owned by Babcock Plant, was preparing to lift an air conditioning unit at the Golden Walk shopping centre, in Germiston when it overturned.

Germiston South Africa
The overturned crane

The crane had no counterweight fitted and was short rigged on the lift side, and it looks as if the front outrigger has punched through the ground- no mats were used.

The boom came down on top of the Woolworths store seriously injuring at least one man, while 22 others received minor scrapes or were suffering from shock.

Germiston South Africa
It looks as though the front outrigger punched through into a void

Vertikal Comment

What is so difficult about using outrigger mats and setting a crane up properly?

Unless we are missing something the likelihood of this crane going over were ridiculously high. In an environment like this the chances of finding a void of some sort are almost a given, then to short rig on the lift side when you have no counterweight on the space required is available?!?

This sort of incident should not be happening with cranes like this, their operation should be restricted to people who at least understand the basics.

This looks like a much larger crane than was required was drafted in for a quick lift, with no thought given to the forces and balances that come into play even when there is no load on the hook with such a large crane. Thankfully no one lost their life in the incident.

The mind boggles

Good Afternoon Mr Craggy,

Thank you for your valuable input, the content of which is noted.

In English Law there is a principle known as 'Res Ipsa Loquitur' which means in Latin ' The Thing Speaks For Itself ' . So when a Mobile Crane goes over due to having No Ballast Blocks in place, or being Short Rigged on one side, it does not need a Judicial Enquiry to determine what was the Root Cause of that particular Incident, it is self evident to all who see it. For far too many years, Innocent Men have been getting killed on the Ground by Cranes, or during Unsafe Lifting Operations. Therefore, if no-one else will speak-up for the dead, it behoves me to speak-up for them ...and I will.

Your attempt to suppress legitimate public debate about Crane Safety is nothing but a disingenuous desire to do what certain politicians call " Kicking it into the Long Grass", knowing full well that by the time your lengthy official investigation into the unsafe act that triggered it off has been concluded, with a Report that is never Published for Commercial Reasons, that the crane incident itself is long forgotten. Therefor your time would be much better spent setting-up a Crane Safety Training Programme for all Directors and Managers in your Organisation. That way these Decision makers would then have an in-depth knowledge of the Common Law obligation known as 'Safe Systems of Work' . For the Record these are ....

1. Training, Instruction and Supervision are all Common Law obligations for UK Crane Industry Employers. Not Optional, but obligatory for all UK Employers.
2. The Crane Mfrs Excellent Handbook(s) already states all of the 'Safe Systems of Work' and should be followed by all Crane Owners 24/7.
3. In 2011 the HSE will confirm that 18 Men and Women were killed by Cranes or during Lifting Operations. With 49 Killed in the Construction Industry in total.

Should your Chief Executive disagree with my Strategy to drive-up Crane Safety Standards in the UK, then he has my full permission to petition the High Court to obtain a Court Order to stop me. Until then my Crane Safety Improvement Strategy continues. The reason being that we all go to work to earn money, not to be put at risk of being killed by a Negligent Crane Owner. After all if we dont improve Crane Safety in the UK, then who will ?

With Kindest Regards
Mike Ponsonby BA

Crane accident in chemical plant

January 6, 2011 | Comments (0)
A six axle All Terrain crane went over at the Orica Chemicals refinery at Kooragang Island, near Newcastle New South Wales, late last week, after one of its outriggers punched through the ground into some sort of void. No one was
injured and it is possible that the damage will not be too severe.

Orica Australia
The outrigger clearly punched though into a void

Orica Australia
The stricken crane

The crane owned by rental company Boom Logistics was set up with decent sized mats for routing use, but the operator was clearly unaware of the void. The crane tipped badly but came to a rest before going over completely.

Orica Australia
The crane came to a rest before going over

Orica Australia
Decent outrigger mats were employed

Orica Chemical has said that it has recorded this as a high risk near miss/potential fatality incident. The plant produces ammonium nitrate for the agricultural and mining industries.

A team from Boom Logistics were working with a large lattice boomed crane yesterday to rescue the crane after having stabilised it after the accident.

Orica Australia

Orica Australia
Another view

WorkCover was on site and interviewing those involved to review their systems of work in order to prevent a similar incident occurring again. At the moment this is all the information we have, once we receive more we will of course update this report.

New England crane overturn

August 26, 2014 | Comments (0)
A three axle All Terrain crane overturned in Concord, Massachusetts on Friday when one of its outriggers sank deeply into the grass while helping remove trees from a larger property in the area.

The crane, a Liebherr LTM1050-3.1 owned by Astro Crane, looks to have been set up with mats and cribbing, but clearly the grass under the outrigger carrying the most load was not firm enough to support the ground bearing pressures being applied.

Concord Mass
The outrigger sank deep into the grass

Thankfully no one was hurt in the incident, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration was called to the scene to investigate.

Concord Mass
Mats had clearly been employed, at least to the rear

Outrigger accident in Cape Cod

Submitted by  on Sunday, 31 October 2010No Comment
A boom truck tipped over in Wychmere harbour, Harwich, Cape Cod, Massachussets, yesterday after the ground gave way beneath one of its front outriggers.  The crane, which is owned by locally based Baxter Crane was lifting a section of a wood framed building , when the outrigger punched through the ground and virtually flipped, with its boom nose ending up in the water.  A man was checked out by the emergency services but did not require treatment, there were no other injuries.  A Federal OSHA representative who was in the area at the time, is investigating.