A delivery truck loaded with a boom and some scissor lifts struck a bridge yesterday, ripping the superstructure from the telescopic boom lift. The truck, owned by local rental company APL, was travelling south on the M6 motorway near Haydock, northern England.
The incident occurred just before junction 22 when the boom platform of a mid-sized JLG caught the overpass, its superstructure landed on the hard shoulder just before the exit ramp. A van or a truck then ran into the ‘debris’ apparently rupturing its fuel tank causing a minor spillage. Most importantly no one was hurt, and the damage was limited to the equipment.
A statement from Merseyside Police said: "A hire truck with a crane crashed between junction 23 and junction 22 southbound of the M6 around 6.25am today."
While the incident caused major traffic jams the damage was largely limited to the equipment. The road was cleared and reopened later in the day.
A statement from Highways England said: "There are severe delays in excess of 60 minutes on the M6 southbound in south Lancashire/Greater Manchester between J26 Orrell Interchange and J22 Winwick Interchange due to two incidents. Two lanes are closed between J23 Haydock Interchange and J22 following a bridge strike resulting in debris in the road and road surface damage.
"Related to this another incident has occurred within J22 which has resulted in two lanes of three being closed after a vehicle struck debris from the bridge strike. This has resulted in the vehicle having a ruptured fuel tank leading to a spillage in the road.”
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service added: "MFRS were in attendance at this incident and GMFRS were also on scene, each Service had one fire engine in attendance. A second vehicle had been in a minor collision with the cherry picker. The occupant of the cherry picker was unharmed as were the two occupants of the second vehicle. Firefighters made the scene safe and handed over to the highways agency at around 7.20am."
APL has issued the following statement
"One of our delivery trucks was involved in a road accident this week, in which he struck a bridge on the M6. The driver is not hurt, and the Police & highways were exemplary in their approach, the wagon and trailer have gone to the contract hire company to be inspected and all the qualifications of the driver checked roadside and dealt with at the scene by the Police."
"All IPAF training, LOLER’s & PMI’s were in date and driver aids were all provided, we have also checked CCTV footage and it seems that the boom lift was loaded in a way that added to the rig’s overall height. Our policy is load up the night before in daylight and ensure all is correct. While this delivery was loaded up the night before, the way it had been loaded was a case of bad judgement. We are investigating why it was loaded in this manner’ and have now implemented new staged checks before, whilst loading and once chained down."
"We can also confirm that the Police & Highways Agency were happy with our compliance and conduct at the scene and with the driver’s overall attitude and have advised that they considered the accident to be a freak."
"We take safety and good practice very seriously, and going forward we are installing goalpost type overhead test structures at each entrance and exit, which will be set lower than the standard UK bridge height."
"Driver error and freak accidents do happen and as a business we are happy to share our findings, with the industry as a whole in order that others can learn from this experience."
"We would also like to extend our apologies for causing the congestion on the M6 and can confirm that we are continually investing and trailing new innovative ways to improve driver training and competencies of our delivery services across the country."
Incidents like this can happen to any company, no matter how well run they are, whenever people are involved human error can, and often will, over ride even the best of protocols. It looks as though the combination of an under-tucked jib, the boom lift's position on the trailer's forward ramp with the boom riser therefore elevated, plus the height of the trailer all contributed to taking the overall height of the load above that of the bridge. simple loading area could have resulted in a very nasty incident.