A four axle truck crane overturned on Tuesday in Gloucester Township, New Jersey on the east side of the river from Philadelphia.
The incident occurred on Tuesday when the crane’s swingaway extension broke free of its stowage brackets and became caught on a utility bracing pole causing the crane to swerve and overturn. It in turn caused a car to swerve into a tree as it tried to avoid the overturning crane, a Grove TMS 9000E from the Dobbs Crane Rentals fleet. The driver of the crane, Christopher Thompson, was not seriously hurt and was able to climb from his cab under his own steam. The car driver was also unhurt, but both were taken to a local hospital for a check over and treatment for minor injuries.
The local police have issued a press release which includes a series of photographs which we have included, and the initial findings from their investigation which they released in the following statement:
“Our initial investigation revealed that the hydraulic crane truck, owned by Dobbs Crane Rental, was traveling northbound on Little Gloucester Road when a section of the ‘swingaway extension arm’ became dislodged from the crane and struck a utility line brace pole. After taking the brace pole down, it appears the extension arm became stuck into the ground as the vehicle momentum continued forward, ultimately causing the crane truck to overturn onto the driver's side, across both travel lanes. As this occurred, a Toyota Camry traveling southbound, and the driver quickly steered the vehicle to the right to avoid colliding with the crane. This caused the vehicle to travel off road, up a hill and into a tree.”
All photographs courtesy of the Gloucester Township Police
This is a highly unusual incident, assuming that it was caused by a swingaway extension coming off of its storage brackets as stated. This is very rare, but not entirely unknown, when it has occurred before, it has usually been due to the retaining pins not having been replaced. If we learn more, we will update this item. Thankfully everyone involved in the incident went home this week, it could have been so much worse.
This description makes me wonder if a checklist was used to prepare the crane for transport. Consider all the costs to repair and the loss of revenue potential, the crane has become a liability rather than an investment. The great book Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, MD proves the complete value of requiring checklists in all kinds of work activities.