Crane Operator Falls 30 Feet From a Crane While Working From a Freeway Overpass in CaliforniaAbstract:
A 60-year-old male equipment operator (the victim) died after falling 30 feet from the crane he was operating on an elevated freeway. The width of the freeway where the victim was working was approximately 25 feet from concrete guardrail to concrete guardrail. Prior to the incident the victim had been using the crane to set 12″x 12″ timber stringers on top of the false work on the west side of the elevated freeway. Witnesses stated that the victim had pulled in the outriggers on the east side to let a truck go by and had not extended them afterward. Co-workers stated that it was common practice for the crane operator to pull in the outriggers in order to allow trucks to go by. The victim continued to lift three more timbers and place them on the falsework on the west side of the elevated freeway. He then climbed down from the crane to meet with the foreman and a construction worker regarding the need for more timbers. After their discussion he returned to the crane and began to rotate the boom to the east side and over the rear of the crane. The boom was rotated at approximately an 80 degree angle from the horizontal position and was extended approximately 60 feet. Co-workers stated that they heard the crane making various creaking sounds at the time. One witness stated that the victim came out of the cab and shouted “get out of the way.” The crane fell over quickly and the victim was thrown to the east side, struck the boom several times and then fell approximately 30 feet to the ground. The end of the boom landed on the freeway without incident. The victim was not wearing a seat belt or hard hat. The CA/FACE investigator concluded that in order to prevent similar future occurrences employers should:
assure operators extend and set crane outriggers when the load handled exceeds the rated load (rubber chart) without the outriggers.
require that there be a qualified signal person or oiler working with the crane operator to provide assistance to the operator.
establish as part of their site planning a specification which does not require crane operators to retract outriggers for any type of vehicular traffic.
require that crane operators wear seat belts at all times during operation.
In addition manufacturers and product designers should consider:
designing cranes with control systems that prohibit or limit certain maneuvers for specific load, boom, and outrigger configurations.