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A 16-year-old worker dies when struck by a portable gantry crane used as an engine hoist in Washington State.

Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 03WA039, 2009 Oct; :1-29
In August of 2003, a 16-year-old male employee died when he was struck by a portable gantry crane used as an engine hoist while working at a wrecking yard / auto parts company in western Washington State. On the incident day, a wrecking yard customer was using a manually operated portable gantry crane, built by a local metal fabrication shop, to remove an engine and transmission from a salvaged vehicle. A gantry crane is a type of crane which lifts objects by a hoist. This gantry crane had four automobile wheels with pneumatic tires installed on the bottom of the horizontal supports allowing the whole crane to traverse. The customer was having difficulty moving the loaded crane and was aided by the victim. As the customer and the victim were manually moving the gantry crane, it began to roll freely. The crane rolled into a shallow depression, became unbalanced and fell, striking the victim in the head as it toppled over. Witnesses called 911 within moments of the incident. Salvage yard persons attended to the victim until emergency help arrived, but the victim died at the scene. Guidelines: To prevent similar occurrences in the future, the Washington State Fatality Assessment & Control Evaluation (FACE) investigative team concluded that any business engaged in salvage / wrecking yard or similar operations should follow these guidelines: 1.) Employers must select and make available the most appropriate crane or lift equipment manufactured and certified for the job. 2.) All crane operation / lift equipment must be used according to manufacturer's guidelines. If manufacturer's guidelines are not available, use established best practice for all crane lift equipment used. 3.) All employers and crane operators need to clearly understand and control site conditions and limitations for all crane lifts and crane travel at the site. 4.) A portable or mobile crane must only be used on a surface that can safely support its lift capacity and travel capability. 5.) Employers must conduct training for all crane operators, users and support personnel to ensure that all workers understand the hazards associated with portable and mobile cranes and crane lifts. 6.) Employers need to diligently supervise and coach young workers beyond the level provided for experienced adult workers in order to help young workers recognize and avoid the hazards of performing tasks at the organization's site.
Region-10; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Age-factors; Automotive-engines; Equipment-design; Equipment-operators; Equipment-reliability; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-safety-programs; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Training; Traumatic-injuries; Work-analysis; Work-operations; Work-practices
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-03WA039; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008487; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-013928
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division