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Crane failure kills worker at scrap metal recycling yard.

New Jersey Department of Health
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 05NJ099, 2009 Apr; :1-12
A crane boom at a scrap metal recycling yard collapsed onto a 41-year-old male worker as a result of a structural failure within the crane, resulting in the worker's death. Three other workers were injured during this incident, which occurred at approximately 4:30 am on November 24, 2005. The exact age of the crane was unknown, but it was at least 20 years old. The crane was used to extricate large metal pieces that jammed the hammer mill, a machine that shreds vehicles (e.g., cars, buses, trucks, vans), appliances, and other large metal objects received for scrap recycling. These metal pieces have variable shapes and weights. The weight of these pieces is not easily estimated, and therefore makes a determination of the load lifted by the crane difficult to assess. Additionally, the practice of "jogging" the crane during attempts to free jammed materials in the mill resulted in indeterminate loads being exerted on the crane boom. Difficulty in assessing the load possibly resulted in weights that exceeded the recommended maximum load capacity for the crane and, over time, resulted in small structural stress fractures in the crane pole assembly. This may have contributed to the eventual fracturing of the boom assembly that resulted in the crane failure and collapse. NJ FACE investigators recommend following these safety guidelines to prevent similar incidents: 1.) Develop and adhere to a site-specific crane safety program based on Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) guidelines. 2.) Develop a critical lift plan and have it reviewed by a professional engineer who specializes in hoisting operations. 3.) Ensure that crane operators are trained to follow all OSHA regulations and NIOSH guidelines regarding the safe use of cranes. 4.) Ensure that all crane operators have received model-specific training on the cranes they operate, and that they demonstrate proficiency in the operation of the crane. 5.) Routinely inspect cranes for operational safety and structural integrity. Maintain a preventative maintenance log. Follow all manufacturer's instructions and recommendations for inspection and maintenance. 6.) Use modern safety devices, such as load-moment indicators (LMIs) on all cranes, and retrofit old cranes with such devices to prevent exceeding the maximum critical load. 7.) Develop a change-out schedule for cranes and/or their structural components to ensure their continued integrity and safety. 8.) Ensure that load charts are placed at the location of the crane operator and that these charts are understood and followed by the crane operator. 9.) Crane operators should be cognizant of co-workers at all times when operating cranes. 10.) Ensure that all crane operators follow boom loading specifications and be cognizant of boom dynamics at all times when operating cranes. Side loading and shock loading should be avoided.
Region-2; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Equipment-reliability; Job-analysis; Metal-industry; Metal-industry-workers; Injury-prevention; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-safety-programs; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Training; Traumatic-injuries; Warning-devices; Work-analysis; Work-environment; Work-operations; Work-performance; 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-05NJ099; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008485
Priority Area
Healthcare and Social Assistance
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services
Page last reviewed: August 19, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division