Near miss caught on camera
The following letter was received yesterday evening from Cathal McNally of Forsyth of Denny regarding a serious incident in the company’s yard earlier this week, which was caught on the CCTV cameras.
Thankfully no one was hurt but by highlighting and sharing the incident, not only will the company itself benefit, but so will others. Finally it is refreshing to see such a positive and open attitude. The industry would be so much safer if more companies would follow the lead set by Cathal McNally and his team, rather than adopt precisely the opposite policy. We salute him and the company.
The letter is published in full below and the video footage follows it.
I would like to highlight a serious incident that occurred in our own yard earlier this week, the attached video refers to it and although the quality is poor, it serves to demonstrate how close we came to losing one of our work colleagues as a result.
I appreciate it is uncommon for crane owners to publish their negative news or anything they deem may have a negative effect on their business. All of us publish the positives - stories of new machinery added to the fleet, stories of new depots opened, stories of self-praise, ‘Another Happy Customer’, team this and team that. However, do ANY of us learn anything from this type of news?
The reason we are publishing this, is in the hope that someone, somewhere might learn from it. I believe all crane companies should publish their incidents and near misses and not attempt to cover them up - there is no shame in admitting your failings - if these type of occurrences can be eliminated or a life can be saved, it can only be a positive thing for the whole industry. Of course, some will ‘scoff’ but shouldn’t, because this type of occurrence is out there waiting on us all.
Briefly describing the incident, one of our operators (with over 30 years crane and lifting experience), needed to add oil to the engine of a Liebherr LTM1040. To do this, the ballast normally carried on the deck during road travel needs to be ‘lifted’ or mounted on the rear of the superstructure, thus allowing the engine covers to be removed to allow access to the engine.
The operator decided to carry out this procedure ‘Free On Wheels’ despite full Liebherr Training & Crane Mobilisation RA/MS for fully rigged duties being in place. We can see from earlier footage that the superstructure was rotated to 180 degrees over the rear with the boom angle quite low. Once over the rear, the boom was raised to a higher angle, the ballast was lifted, and the crane was slewed, resulting in an overturn backwards.
In our family, we have always said, that ‘Nothing is a problem if money can fix it’. There is considerable damage to the crane itself and indeed, the crane (60t) that it collided with. However, it was only when we viewed the footage of the incident that we realised how serious it was - one of our colleagues who was innocently washing the 60t, just passed the stricken crane as it overturned. We estimate if he had paused alongside the 60t he was washing about five seconds earlier, he would surely have been pinned underneath the overturning crane OR, had he been on the other side of the 60t, he could have been injured as it was pushed forward or struck by the swinging hook block.
Following full investigation, we held a safety stand-down this evening in our yard and got all staff involved, showing them this video and discussing what it would have been like to recover the crane had someone been pinned under it - it was and IS clear to be seen how close we came to losing a work colleague and I can assure you - it was a very sobering moment for us all.
It is very difficult to be innovative or change the crane industry in the UK but if we can ALL learn from each other’s mistakes we can make a difference and help make the crane industry a safer one.”
A serious near miss