Crane tips in Essex, UK

A mobile crane overturned onto a house in the town of Billericay, Essex, UK earlier today.

The crane a 35 tonne two axle Terex/PPM All Terrain owned and operated by local company Snook’s Lifting, was placing building materials - reportedly glazing panels – behind the house when something clearly caused an overload situation, resulting in the crane losing stability. The ground or outrigger set up was clearly not a factor.
We understand that no one was hurt in the incident, although the crane operator had to be rescued and was treated at the scene, possibly for shock or bruising.

Vertikal Comment

This crane has a relatively long boom for its size, and it is possible that if working close to capacity, a dynamic load resulting from lowering the extended boom too quickly - to gain a little more radius - or overriding the load indicator are examples of possible causes.


An open letter from Snook's has been published which updates and provides more detail on this incident

"Incident Update"

Further to the recent incident in Billericay, Essex involving our crane we would like to clarify a few details.

Our crane was hired in under CPA Hire (which for those who do not know is crane and operator hire only) the planning, supervision and execution of the lift was undertaken by a 3rd party lifting company.

We are pleased to confirm that NO injury to any personnel on site was sustained, the site was made safe by the emergency services very quickly. Our driver was advised to stay in the cab of the crane (not 'trapped' as reported) due to the proximity of a power cable.

The crane was recovered at approximately 6pm on the day of the incident. We are very grateful for the quick response and professionalism of the recovery team.

Upon hearing the news that our crane was involved, all our personnel were dispatched to the incident along with very close colleagues/ friends from other crane companies, the recovery of our crane was a big team effort and I could not of asked for anything more! thank you.

The crane sustained minimal damage, radius cable was pinched but not broken and a few scratches on the boom.
The roof of the house also sustained minimal damage (although the pictures make it look worse than it is) I believe it is already in the process of being rectified.

We (us and the 3rd party company) have an extensive task of figuring out the exact cause of why the crane was overloaded. We have obtained witness statements from all personnel on site which have all been taken into account.

The crane was setup and levelled perfectly with the outriggers pinned and counterweight on. The crane was not overloaded by our driver as he was at a pre-warning stage which is 90% of full capacity (this does not included the built in safety factor), the crane was within its duties. There are other factors which could cause an overload but we are still unclear of the exact cause. We have already had the crane examined, calibration tested and all results have come back that the crane was in perfect working order.

We are still working close with the contractors involved and the home owners themselves will kept up to date with progress - the investigation is still on going.

On a more personal note, we are very disappointed at the amount of speculation and negativity which has now tainted our name as a company for something we had no control over. We are a small family run business specialising in Contract Lifting, we bought a crane as the next step up in our business development but now feel that we need to ensure all future projects we are involved in are under our control.

The Contract Lifting and Plant Movement side of our company has always had will continue to have a 100% safety record and 100% success rate on all projects.

Thank you for taking the time to read the above (I'm sure only a few will read to the end)

Kind Regards

Daniel Snook
Managing Director


Close proximity of a power cable??

May 13, 2019

I m very surprised of have how quick this crane was inspected and deemed fit ? As this was done by a 3rd party as well surly this crane should have be send back to Terex or a crane specialist like Crowlands ? I wouldn’t be keen to use that crane at the moment

And it is me or are the riggings on the pavement side short rigged because the mats on the pavement on the edge of the pavement and looking at the road width you couldn’t get 6 metres . This crane hasn’t got variable rig?

May 12, 2019

FAO Daniel Snook , Managing Director.

Good Morning Mr Snook,

Thank you for comprehensive letter above, the content of which is noted.

As this Crane Overturn Incident above had the potential to be fatal for someone and is number 594 of 595 lifting incidents worldwide which has Killed 535 Men, Women and Children since 7 May 2007.

Then as Managing Director you personally are the Duty Holder in Law and carry this liability under Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of The HSW Act 1974.

While your answer is noted, you may like to take the following subjects into consideration in your ongoing investigation, as Crane Safety is now a matter of Legitimate Public Concern.

Was your Cranes Load Moment Indicator LMI switched off by means of the Override Key ?

Was your Cranes LMI Left in Rigging Mode to silence Bell ?

Was your Cranes Anemometer working correctly at the Material time in Billericay ?

What role did Kinetic Energy play in your Crane Incident ?

What role did Force, Mass and Leverage play in your Crane Overturning in Billericay ?

What was the Forecasted Wind Speed in Billericay at the material time ?

What was the Forecasted Gusts of Wind speed in Billericay at material time ?

Was the Crane Data Recorder working at the material time ?

and if you really wish to CYA, please

Publish the Risk Assessment for this CPA Lifting Op ?
Publish the Method Statement for this CPA Lift ?

The world now awaits your answers on these subjects because Worker Safety is Important, Very Important and much too important to leave it to chance, because 535 Fatal Incidents is 535 too many ?

Kind Regards
Mike Ponsonby

May 12, 2019


Good Morning Mr Wood,

As this Mobile Crane Tipped to the left above had the potential to be Fatal and is Crane Incident number 594, which has already Killed 535 Men, Women and Children Worldwide since 7 May 2007.

It brings to mind a face to face conversation you and I had in Edinburgh on Friday 14 October 2011, where you agreed that we presently have the most Technologically Advanced Cranes ever made, but we still see them Tipped over on a regular basis, with Three Examples of Unsafe Acts in the past three weeks.

So if 2019 Cranes are Technically Advanced, but the incidence of Crane Fatalities has not Decreased, there is clearly something missing in this dichotomy. So in the absence of any other Crane Industry Safety Initiatives, this then is my suggestion.

1. Start a Crane Safety Training Programme.

2. Include the Newtonian principles of how to calculate Force, Mass and Gravity.

3. Invite the CEO and MD plus all Directors to attend, because if they are not Personally Committed to Safety, no one else will be ?

CPA Crane Interest Group Directors may be well advised to take a long look in the Mirror and ask themselves, do I really want to go to Prison for a Crane Related Fatal Incident ?

Because Worker Safety is Important, Very Important and much too important to leave it to chance and 535 Fatal Incidents is 535 too many ?

Kind Regards
Mike Ponsonby

May 10, 2019

Lucky that cable was there to stop the crane from going over.

May 9, 2019