Truck mounted crane overturn - The "C" word - Coercion
This was an incident earlier this month in the UK involving a Palfinger P480 truck-mounted crane. Whilst not directly related to spotting for electrical hazards, it does highlight the potential for catastrophic outcomes due to psychological pressure being applied on a job site.
It's a fairly decent 5-minute read, so I'll summarise in point form:
- the crane was being used on a film set on location with a lighting rig set up.
- the operator was well trained, had 2½ years incident-free service with the company, the plant was in good condition & well serviced and all required pre-start checks were completed.
- about 6 hours into the hire, several requests were made to the operator to extend platform a few meters further by lowering the boom as "the lighting wasn't quite right".
- the operator advised that the platform was already working on its maximum permissible limits, however it appears additional pressure was applied to "make it happen".
- the operator succumbed to site persuasion and decided to then switch the platform in to ‘Emergency Mode’. He then proceeded to lower the main boom section taking the unit out of its safe working envelope.
- the platform passed its tipping point, lost stability and fell over. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt in the incident.
Here is part of an editorial comment from Vertical.Net (the publishers of the article):
I have seen first-hand how some large contractors - who produce pages and pages of fine words on how important safety and their people are to them, and who are quick take the stage to collect a fancy safety award, while being guilty of applying pressure to equipment operators on site, to push their machines beyond the limits and then try to suppress any information on what happened when a near miss occurs.
And there's more:
I wonder who feels worse tonight - the platform’s operator, or those that pushed him to “go the extra mile”?
Here's a follow-up story from later in the same month, about another similar incident on a film set. Fortunately the crane operator did the right thing; declined and reported the incident as a near-miss.
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