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Near miss spurs warning

A crane operator had a near miss yesterday in Odessa, Texas when a boom pivot pin came out. Owners of similar cranes are urged to pay particular attention to the boom and lift cylinder pivot pins.

The crane, a new 120 tonne Link Belt HTC 3140 truck crane, was carrying out its third lift when the incident occurred. Thankfully fast action on the part of the operator saved any injuries or damage to anything but the crane.
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The boom twisted to one side after the pin came free

The crane was lifting a large oil derrick when the operator heard a loud ‘pop’ and the crane shifted. He immediately hoisted down and stopped the operation. Upon investigation he found the main boom pivot pin had “walked out” of the superstructure due to loose retaining bolts, causing the boom to come free on one side.
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The pivot pin worked free form the boom

The failure then caused the welds supporting the bush mounts in the superstructure to fracture. The boom slowly leaned by around a metre to the side. Oddly the photographs that we have been sent also show that the lift cylinder pivot pin had also come loose.
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It looks as though the lift cylinder pin was also on the move

The boom was extended 86' (26m) and was working at a 15' (4.5m) radius. It was found that the bolts holding the pin in place had fallen out allowing the pin to walk out. We are told that the bolts are not in an easy spot to see for an operator doing his pre-lift inspection. This was a brand new crane that – we are told – that went into service just 24 hours earlier.
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The pin retainer bolts had all worked loose

Owners are recommended to check all boom pins on Link Belt 3140 cranes, although the same should be said of all cranes.

Vertikal Comment

This is thankfully a rare situation, and probably more likely to occur on a brand new crane than on an older one, unless it is very badly maintained and subject to constant vibration.

Time was when new cranes were shipped across the USA by train prior to delivery almost all the bolts would be loose on arrival. We do not know how this particular unit was shipped, but it may well have played a part. What it does show is how important a thorough pre-delivery inspection is, as well as pre-use checks each day.


Better have that jobsite shut down and an immediate quarantine put on it, greaseworms are on the loose!!!! No fresh grease anywhere to be seen!!

Surely the operator should have noticed the bolts and pins walking out in his shift inspection and made note of it in his crane log book!

A competent person must begin a visual inspection prior to each shift the equipment will be used, which must be completed before or during that shift. The inspection must consist of observation for apparent deficiencies. Taking apart equipment components and booming down is not required as part of this inspection unless the results of the visual inspection or trial operation indicate that further investigation necessitating taking apart equipment components or booming down is needed. Determinations made in conducting the inspection must be reassessed in light of observations made during operation.

Feb 19, 2013