Dropped excavator lands on boom

A mini excavator was dropped down a shaft landing on an occupied boom lift in London, UK earlier this week.

The incident occurred on the Tideway site in Greenwich – one of 24 sites in the city along a new 25km sewer tunnel and pumping station - on Wednesday evening. Two men were working from a JLG crawler mounted boom lift at the bottom of the shaft, when another crew decided to lower the excavator into the shaft at the same time. We have been told that the procedure for lowering equipment into the hole, usually involves a purpose built drive on drive off stillage, but in this case the machine was lifted with a set of slings slung through the top of the rubber tracks, which then broke apart during the descent, dropping the machine onto the boom lift.

If you look closely at the photographs you can see the broken tracks lying alongside the machine, which appears to confirm the report.

The two men suffered minor injuries on top of shock. A spokesperson for the Tideway consortium, said: “We can confirm that there was an incident during a lifting operation at our site in Greenwich on the evening of 22nd May. Two members of our team were taken to hospital and have since been discharged. Fortunately there were no serious injuries. Safety is our top priority and we are now investigating the cause of the incident.”


FAO William Holland-Kaye esq
Chief Executive Officer
Balgazette Tunnel Ltd
Tideway Sewer Project.
Cottons Lane, London. SE1 2QG.

Good Afternoon Mr Holland-Kaye,

As 90 days has now elapsed since the
potentially Fatal Dropped load incident
down the Shaft on the Tideway Sewer Tunnel site in
Greenwich, London.

Would you kindly now publish your Formal Report
into what went wrong in early May 2019,
as the World needs to know in order to avoid any
Repeat of this type of Potentially Fatal Dropped Load Incident.

Please do not keep it secret, as Secrecy
is the Enemy of Safety and with 554 Fatalities
arising from 626 Crane Incidents worldwide since 7th May 2007.

We now look forward to reading your Report
as 554 Lifting Related Fatalities is 554 too many ?

Kind Regards
Mike Ponsonby

27 Aug 2019

Training and supervision!! companies cut corners on training and this is what happens! just ensuring that a person has a card does not mean that they can carry out the job!!
too many training companies and construction companies are going for the quick fix. There are too many accidents in the lifting industry to say we have skilled staff, before someone shoots me down, there are some very good and professional people in the industry. But all we hear about are the badly trained/supervised ones.
There should be consequences to the actions of the individuals involved in this event, what is the worse that happens? they don't drop anything again!!

31 May 2019

Incredible that no one was killed here . Incompetence of the highest levels , there should be serious repercussions for all involved.

30 May 2019

Can't Spell Mokanic
Is it my imagination, or has the industry become more stupid since my retirement. This is not a single point failure. Clearly the workers should have removed from the area during the lift, but who hoists a mini-excavator by the top side of the rubber tracks. Makes one wonder what other stupid practices were part of this lift.

29 May 2019

Graeme Davison
Mike P - just a note you are generally ok with what you are saying about Newtons Second Law of Physics is Mass x Velocity equals Force - but you must use SI units to do the equation - velocity would be in metres per second - but you refer to miles per hour when you used the value of 10 in your equation. 10 MPH is actually 4.47 metres per second ! Don't get me wrong, even with that correction, its probably going to hurt having an excavator land on you - but as you are very precise in what you preach to us on safety I just thought I should correct you on this item !

28 May 2019

FAO William Holland-Kaye esq
Chief Executive Officer
Balgazette Tunnel Ltd
Tideway Sewer Project.
Cottons Lane
London. SE1 2QG.

Good Morning Mr Holland-Kaye,

As this Dropped Load above had the Potential to Kill these Two Men Working at base of this Shaft, which is Crane or Lifting Incident number 599 and has already Killed 541 Men, Women and Children Worldwide since 070507.

I write to politely request that you personally investigate this incident and publish your findings. The Machine lieing at the base of this Tideway Tunnel Shaft depicted appears to be a Kobelco SK75SR Excavator with Rubber Tracks which has an ULW of approx 8430 Kgs plus the Hydraulic Peck attachment with extra pipework.

So if the Mass of this machine is 8430 kgs multiplied by the velocity of the Drop at circa 10 MPH that would have applied a Force of approximately 84.30 Tonnes to the Two Men working on the AWP below. (Newtons Second Law of Physics is Mass x Velocity equals Force).

Therefore would you kindly.

A. Please investigate how Two separate Lifting Operations were undertaken in the same Tideway Shaft at the very same time ?

B. Please publish the Risk Assessment, Method Statement RAMS and Lift Plan for this Improvised Lifting Operation, as the World needs to know what went wrong ?

C. Please publish your Final Report on this excellent website and dont keep it secret as Secrecy is the Enemy of Safety ?

As CEO you are the Duty Holder in Law re Safety. Moreover this type of negligence depicted above is a VG example of how Innocent People Get Killed by the negligent acts of others while ignoring the principles of Force, Mass and Gravity. So as we have now witnessed 20 seperate Crane or Lifting Incidents in 2019 YTD with 16 Fatalities. This now requires a positive initiative to raise Safety Standards, so please allow me to make three suggestions.

D. Start a Crane Safety Training Programme.

E. Include the Newtonian Principles of how to calculate Force, Mass and Gravity in that Training Programme.

F. You as Chief Executive plus all Directors and Managers be Trained in the UK Legal obligation of Risk Assessment and Safe Systems of Work SSoW.

Because my 12 year Database confirms 599 Lifting Incidents with 42% involving Mobile Cranes. Moreover Worker Safety is important, very important and much too important to leave it to chance, because 541 Fatal Incidents is 541 too many ?

Kind Regards
Mike Ponsonby

28 May 2019

"It was like that when it was delivered, mate!"

25 May 2019

Graeme Davison
Time to off hire these machines and hope nobody notices the damage !

25 May 2019

Rubber padeyes what next, another cowboy story.

24 May 2019
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