03.01.2014

Boom buckles on tree job

A crane called in to remove a very large Leylandi tree, that had fallen on to a house in Redhill, Surrey, UK in this week’s storms suffered a bent boom.
The boom buckled between section four and five

The crane was working with four of its five telescoping sections fully extended while the second section was only partially extended. The bend occurred between the fourth and fifth section. Two other cranes were brought in to deal with the tree and the damaged crane. At one point a suspended man basket was used to work on the buckled crane boom.
A view from behind

One assumes that either the boom telescope sequence was wrong for the load, or the LMI incorrectly programmed?
A man basket is used to reach the damaged boom

Comments

Paul,
Sadly human error is apparent in all work places, as a company we work hard to reduce this. We recently started a Safety Incentive Scheme (SIS) which pays a small daily bonus to encourage operators to think before they make bad decisions! There are fines in this system which cover things like wrong PPE, Time keeping, Vehicle checks, Paper work etc. To name just a few. The theory being that the lads think of the consequences before making bad choices! Very early days but it already seems to have a positive effect.
Are you aware of EN13000? which I believe is moving in the right direction by preventing operators being put in a position to make these decisions, its already on the over-ride keys and will eventually cover ballast and outrigger positions.
I would also like your input? Perhaps you could tell me who you think should be planning these lifts.
David,
I would be more than happy to look at your guidance notes, and perhaps ask the CPA for there input, and see if we can take this forward. As we are both aware it is only time before an incident like this becomes horrific.
David

Jan 17, 2014

Neil, I agree that crane operators have a lot of knowledge but they also have a lot of bad habits, as I mentioned earlier in the UK there seems to be an ego thing that if I drive the biggest crane then I am the best operator and that is not the case. This also goes for the saying " yes I can make the crane talk" which is used by many operators to mean that if I reach my limit on the LMI then I can turn the key because I know what the crane can do.

They may know what the crane can do through their experience but it's still illegal.

Jan 16, 2014

Paul,
I agree the sheer volume of tree work operations in the US compared to the UK will somewhat account for the number of reported incidents. My research in the UK showed that, unsurprisingly, not all incidents go reported and so we don't have the true picture here. Only high profile cases like these or incidents reported by compliant and conscientious companies under RIDDOR regulations, make it in to the statistics.
Neil,
Assessment of risk is a legal requirement integral to the planning process and would be part of any guidance. You are quite right, guidance is just that but approved codes of practice are used by the HSE as proof of best practice. You would have to be able to justify a diversion from these standards in the event of an investigation. Guidance is irrelevant to those who choose to ignore it. It is its value to competent operators or those who are trying to become competent operators that is important. I have been involved with attempts to produce guidance on the safe use of cranes in arboriculture from within this industry. I have always maintained though that this guidance is useless if it isn't endorsed by crane operators and therefore there needs to be collaboration between the two industries in the production of such a document.

Jan 16, 2014

Paul
Sorry I haven't kept up with this thread.
In reference to your last comment about AP cards, I actually agree with your views about them being given out to a certain degree, In fact I feel you only have to pass a test to qualify!!! However I have concerns when you criticise ex crane ops as they have knowledge you cannot learn in the classroom.
Perhaps you would take a look at the article in Cranes and Access Vol. 11, Issue 6 August/Sept 2009 Face to Face
David
I applaud you for commenting and would be more than happy to discuss this matter with you as I to have had a lot of experience in this field and would welcome some industry guidance. But we all need to be aware that guidance is exactly that! and Risks still need to be fully Assessed and dealt with.

Jan 16, 2014

Paul
Sorry I haven't kept up with this thread.
In reference to your last comment about AP cards, I actually agree with your views about them being given out to a certain degree, In fact I feel you only have to pass a test to qualify!!! However I have concerns when you criticise ex crane ops as they have knowledge you cannot learn in the classroom.
Perhaps you would take a look at the article in Cranes and Access Vol. 11, Issue 6 August/Sept 2009 Face to Face
David
I applaud you for commenting and would be more than happy to discuss this matter with you as I to have had a lot of experience in this field and would welcome some industry guidance. But we all need to be aware that guidance is exactly that! and Risks still need to be fully Assessed and dealt with.

Jan 16, 2014

David
We have had a lot of accidents in the US but given that the UK is only the size of Florida then it's fair to say the percentage is higher. The difference is they know there is a problem and are working to fix it all together. In the UK nobody thinks they are doing it wrong, they now give out AP cards like baseball cards just to anybody who pays their money. Not enough experts and too many ex crane operators who think they are now lifting specialists that's the problem

Jan 16, 2014

Paul,
Rogue traders aren't unique to the tree and crane industry and it is undeniably a difficult problem but as far as is reasonably practicable, it is up to each industry to eradicate the tin pot companies prepared to undercut everyone else to make a few quid at any cost. Industry guidance and approved codes of practice go some way to achieving this as they set the benchmark standard. The relevant authorities (HSE, industry bodies) then have something to enforce.Interestingly, for the would be Yank Bashers. The US have published, industry guidance on the use of cranes in arboriculture.... we currently don't

Jan 15, 2014

David. Everyone will agree with you, the fact is that all these operations can and should be safe but the reality is not everyone does.

Too many tin pot companies thinking they can plan lifting operations that's how these things happen.

Jan 15, 2014

David Robinson
As an operations manager of an established and reputable UK tree care company, I have specified, planned,organised and managed thousands of lifts of trees using cranes, all without incident. This is the first report of an incident of this kind in the UK that I am aware of and it concerns me.
For many years arborists have recognised the many benefits that the use of cranes bring to the controlled dismantling of trees. Quite simply, they make this operation much safer. However, the use of cranes brings its own complications and risks. As always the key to a successful and safe operation is thorough planning, training and competency (arborist and driver), built in safety margins and an acceptance by all involved of their own limitations in the process. I am interested to find out the detail of this particular case and I agree with some previous comments that there seems to be more to this than meets the eye. We learn more by sharing information about the failures than we do the successes in most cases.
Arborists must be aware that siting a crane, putting a boom in the air and lifting trees is a serious responsibility and everything must be done to satisfy current HSE requirements and best practice to ensure everyone's safety. I often suggest to anyone considering using a crane for tree work to work backwards from this very scenario and to consider the conversation with the HSE inspector about their inputs into the planning of the job. I find this helps to focus the mind.
Cranes are used in UK arboriculture often. I know this because I have done the research and asked the industry. My work with cranes demonstrates that it can be done safely and can greatly increase the safety of our work and I am happy to share information about this with anyone with a serious interest. Guidance would be helpful to all parties and perhaps we are nearing the time when the two industries should start to discuss this at a formal level.

Jan 15, 2014

I agree steve, unfortunately what I don't agree with is the fact that when a crane lifting a tree in the US has an issue it's the useless yanks but when one happens in the UK it's an unfortunate incident. At some time you Brits have to admit that accidents happen no matter where they are or what nationality the operator is. Being an idiot is not nation specific it's just an idiot.

Jan 11, 2014

Steve Stennett
Its difficult to speculate about this job Paul but I agree that an extra safety factor (normally increasing estimated weight) should an would be allowed when doing tees / demolition work. If the tree was upright a "V" cut could have been made allowing the operator to lower back off if it was too heavy, obviously not possible with the tree at this angle. I guess the main thing is that nobody got hurt and maybe a lesson was learned?

Jan 11, 2014

Steve This job was obviously not planned correctly because everybody knows that when doing demolition (which includes trees) you should cut so that you are not taking a weight you cannot handle. You should always be able to put the load back down if you cannot lift the weight legally.

Still looks like a key turn to me !!

Jan 11, 2014

Steve Stennett
I agree with Neil that this damage looks like it has been caused by a shock load. Maybe the section of tree was slung above ground level, the operator was given a weight and when the cut was made it turned out to be considerably heavier? Another possibility is that the damage was done on a previous lift and this was "the straw that broke the camel's back" so to speak?

Jan 10, 2014

Mr Berry. I was not insulting anyone but anybody with experience knows that if you took the crane computer and had it checked there would be a high percentage of cranes showing overload. Maybe there is a liebherr, grove or terex engineer who would like to comment on this to substantiate ?

In regard to your comment on shock loads this again should not happen when lifting trees if you work properly any item you lift should not be cut as you are lifting it and there is no evidence to suggest this was the case.

Jan 7, 2014

I would like to make a judgement based on and only on the snapshot evidence available. This type of structural damage is consistant with a shock load! And the boom bending is in most modern cranes a design feature to prevent tipping. If anyone has ever been involved in tree work it can be likened to demolition, in that something can move give way with little or no warning.
I am deeply offended by the statement of Mr Jones criticising operators in the UK and would ask that he provides evidence to substantiate his claim.
I have on many occasions read some of his outrageous, inaccurate, outspoken and rude claims, perhaps he would like to write them on Facebook where there are several groups which he can insult.

Jan 7, 2014

Firstly your comment is pathetic if you actually knew anything about cranes you would be fully aware that the LMI would cut out long before the boom would buckle. The chances are that the overide key was probably turned which then makes the fact that the weight was given incorrectly irrelevant . FACT. If the crane can lift 20,000 lbs at a given radius and the weight is given at 18000 lbs then the crane can lift it if it's 24000lbs then it cannot and will not unless you turn the key. The fact also is that most operators in the Uk turn the key

Jan 7, 2014

Rex
Nice to see the community making pathetic comments here... 1 the crane operator is not American 2 how can you be sure that it's the operators fault when there are more idiots feeding operators false info all the time causing accidents and 3 in this case the operator was told the weight of the tree but as stated before was false about the actual weight.

Jan 6, 2014

Nice to see that Limey operators are just as prone to trees, maybe lifting trees are the third love of their life. Lol

Jan 6, 2014

Tmayes
Didn't know we was employing American operators now???

Jan 6, 2014

I wondered when terex would finally bring out a hydraulic offset main boom. Looks good

Jan 6, 2014

Well well, another tree... The crane looks like a Terex Demag AC80/2. I know that there is a big difference in lifting capacities between the telescopic configurations. The weakest link in this configuration (100/100/100/100/33?) is, as written above, between the fourth and fifth section. Especially by this type of crane it's important to choose the right telescope configuration.

Jan 4, 2014
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