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Date PostedJuly 19, 2012

Crane Collapse on U.S Construction Site Results in Death

An interesting article recently highlighted the need for greater crane safety awareness in construction. According to the report on Usnews.msnbc.msn.com one person’s life was lost in the incident, the post went on to state:


One person was killed and another injured when a crane collapsed at a highway construction site Thursday morning, authorities said.

A staffer with the Winnebago County Coroner’s Office and the state Department of Transportation confirmed the death to Newsradio 620 WTMJ. Spancrete, based in Waukesha, said one of its drivers, Joseph Bidler, 35, was killed, WTMJ TV reported.

DOT spokesman Kris Schuller said the incident happened about 9 a.m. on a causeway along U.S. 41 at Lake Butte De Morts when a crane collapsed as it was trying to lift a beam on a bridge.

The injured person was the crane operator, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. That person is employed by Lunda Construction Co., based in Black River Falls, the Journal Sentinel said.

The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration are investigating, the Journal Sentinel said.

Read more at: http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/05/12581413-1-killed-1-hurt-when-crane-collapses-at-wisconsin-road-construction-site?lite

The incident is the second of its kind this year alone, which brings to light the lack of safety surrounding cranes on construction sites. Raymond Ashenbrenner a 58 year old man from Black River Falls was killed on April 20 while unloading a crane in a work area in Brown County in Wisconsin. He worked as a subcontractor for a Construction Company in Brownsville. Ashenbrenner was pinned underneath a crane arm as workers were unloading the equipment from a trailer.

A crane is a powerful tool used for shifting heavy loads to and from a vehicle. Many fatalities have occurred where workers were crushed by cranes, either when the load shifts unexpectedly or a malfunction occurs.

Operators carry great responsibility and need to be aware of the danger zones on site that is the areas where the operator may be hit by the load or the boom section of the crane and avoid entering the danger zones while operating the crane.  Operators are also responsible for monitoring the load stability and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions in operating the crane.

Problems may arise from load slinging. These situations can be controlled successfully by consulting with the workers and planning safe work strategies.

A similar incident occurred earlier this month when a worker was trapper for over 6 hours in the cabin of the crane he was operating, resulting in his death. According to a post on Abclocal.go.com.

Eyewitnesses told police something just went wrong.

“It looks like he was lifting one of these concrete walls to begin construction of this building, and I’m told it was the first wall of the new building,” said Sgt. Smart.

The crane operator was trapped inside the cab for nearly five hours before help finally arrived. Police say they were waiting for large trucks and heavy equipment to lift the machine. As for the crane operator, sadly investigators say this accident appears to be tragic.

Family members tell me the operator’s been in construction for about 40 years. They call him a devoted husband and father.

OSHA investigators are on the scene.

Source: http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=8718021

As with all risks on construction sites, the hazards of cranes can be controlled and managed to avoid injury with a little planning by employers. Operators can assist by remaining alert behind the control and remembering their safety training whenever they are at the controls.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure that they provide a safe work environment, safe systems of work and plant and substances are in a safe condition.

Any operator needs to be certified to do so and be in possession of appropriate certificates of competency for Crane operation and Dogging.

Employers must ensure that a hazard identification and risk assessment is carried out and that safe systems of work are implemented as control measures for all operations. They must also ensure that all crane operators are qualified and certified to operate the cranes.  Operators must also be trained in the safe operation procedure for the crane being used.

While it’s too late for the workers involved, workers on Australian construction sites can learn from the mistakes of their American counterparts.  By paying more attention to crane and equipment safety, both employers and workers can reduce the risk of injury in the construction industry.

 Posted by Steven Asnicar



Steven Asnicar is regarded as a leader across many fields of industry. In particular, his specialisation across the health, infrastructure, construction, resource and utility sectors has seen him successfully change the dynamics of these industries through the introduction of new strategic, marketing, training and technical frameworks. Steven works closely with industry peak bodies such as Safework Australia, Australian Logistics Council, National Advisory for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (NATESE) and the Council of Australian Governments in the development of new delivery standards and industry specific programs.

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