Cranes are a staple on the construction site, but can cause devastating consequences if something goes wrong and they happen to collapse. In the best case scenario, thousands of dollars worth of equipment or building damage is created and, in the worst case scenario, people’s lives are lost. If you operate a crane or work on a job site that is using cranes, you can brush up on your crane safety knowledge by visiting OSHA’s crane safety page.
1999 – Milwaukee, WI
During the construction of the Milwaukee Brewers new baseball stadium in 1999, a crane by the name of “Big Blue” collapsed, killing 3 iron workers in the process. A camera crew just happened to be on site at the time of the collapse. After an investigation, it was determined that high winds in the area caused the horrifying collapse, as wind gusts got up to 27 miles per hour and the crane was only rated for 20 miles per hour. The widows of the 3 men received a $57 million settlement from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and, in 2001, a statue honoring the 3 men was installed at the stadium.
2012- Syndey, Australia
The 2012 crane collapse on the University of Technology in Sydney’s campus was caused by a fire near the cabin of the crane. Before escaping the cabin and climbing down the crane to safety, the operator heroically moved the jib over a nearby building instead of leaving it above the road, where hundreds of people could have been injured. Two weeks prior to the collapse, union officials performed an inspection of the crane, due to some complaints about leaking diesel fuel. Because of the findings, the site was closed down for 4 days. After the collapse, officials believe that the maintenance requested in those inspections was not completed and was most likely a main contributor to the accident. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured by this collapse.
2013 – Sau Paulo, Brazil
The site of Brazil’s World Cup stadium was another site of a tragic crane collapse, this time in 2013. This collapse claimed the lives of 2 construction workers. At the time of the collapse, crews were working extended hours and vacations were canceled in order to be able to meet the deadline that Fifa required in order to host the 2014 World Cup. According to the Seattle Times, a labor-union leader claimed that he voiced concerns about the safety of the crane and its inability to hold a 500-ton section of roof, due to several days of rain that had soaked the soil. These warnings were ignored and shortly after the crane collapsed.
2013 – Kirov, Russia
In this tower crane collapse, high winds caused this huge crane to crash into a 9-story apartment complex, which housed 250 people, and crush several cars parked outside. High winds are being blamed for the cause of this collapse. Miraculously, no one reported any injuries after the incident, according to the Daily Mail.
For some reason, there are plenty of people out there willing to try their hand at the “hard hat challenge,” in which worker’s attempt to launch a hard hat onto their head by stomping on a shovel, a 2x4, or any other launching mechanism. It all seems like fun and games until the wrong side of that hard hat ends up hitting you on top of the head, which seems to happen EVERY TIME.
Sometimes the way to do something doesn’t have to be the toughest way. Slipping overboots on over your work boots seems less like “slipping” and more like “jamming” and “forcing” some times.
Kids say the darndest things…so much so that there was a whole TV show made about it. Kids never really quite understand exactly what adults do for a living, so it’s really fun to hear about the little things they pick up on and then watch them try to put the pieces together.
As we have highlighted before on Construction Junkie, China has shown us what a model for efficiency is when it comes to large infrastructure projects. That being said, they seem to be creating a lot of one-off, gargantuan pieces of equipment to do so. In the video below, we see the Sanyuan Bridge in Beijing get entirely removed and replaced with a new bridge in 43 hours.
The most terrifying thing on a job site is when workers get creative with heavy machinery. Sometimes it works out and nobody thinks anything of it, but, if they’re not extremely careful, chaos can’t break loose.
Just in time for Halloween, here’s a video of a bunch of dirty rats living below a concrete slab in Brazil that a group of lucky contractors had the pleasure of uncovering. As the crew broke up piece after piece of concrete, more and more rats scurried out in a hurry, much like that scene in the movie Ratatouille, when hundreds of rats fell out of the ceiling. At least those were animated.
A bridge needs to be built, so time to bust out the cranes, right? Not so fast, a Chinese company has built a machine that has a creative way of setting girders into place.
Lifts may seem relatively safe, because they move fairly slow, but, believe it or not, there are actually very good reasons that OSHA safety procedures exist, especially wearing a harness on a lift.
There are many classic pranks that construction workers pull on the new guy on the site, such as being sent to find a left handed hammer or a light bulb repair kit, but this one might just be the most tiring.
Building implosions are always fun to watch, although sometimes they just don't go quite right. So when companies can accurately control a demolition and have two structures hit in mid-air, it's a thing of beauty! The Cockenzie power station in Scotland has two 487 foot tall chimneys and when it came time to demolish them, there was no better way then to have them strike mid-collapse.