Crane head sheaves flagged for inspection

The DMP has warned crane operators and other competent persons to properly inspect head sheaves on their machines prior to operation.

At a mine site in July 2014 a nylon head sheave shattered in half under load and fell two metres to the ground, “narrowly missing” a rigger standing below the boom.

The auxiliary hook head sheave weighed about two kilograms, and landed within the rigger’s exclusion zone.

An incident report showed the crane was working within its limits, and there was no side loading of the boom head sheave during the lift.

Recommendations from the Department of Mines and Petroleum in Western Australia suggested that crane inspection programs must include inspection and assessment of sheaves.

A contributing cause was that damage to the head sheave was not identified during the daily pre-start inspection of the crane.

It was noted that head sheaves must be inspected for alignment, damage such as cracking, wear, mobility and extreme soiling, before starting a crane operation.

In addition, special attention was given to discourage the practice of double blocking, or allowing the headache ball to make contact with the head sheave, including when moving or packing up the crane.

It was also advised that crane maintenance records must be checked and cranes examined for damage prior to entering mine sites.

Dual crane lift goes horribly wrong

A dual crane lift in Netherlands has gone tragically wrong, resulting in the injury of approximately 20 people in shops that were crushed in the accident.

The lift was conducted from a canal barge in the western Dutch town of Alphen aan den Rijn.

Video footage of the accident shows one crane overbalancing as the barge leans over in the water, causing the load to fall and dragging the other crane with it.

The cranes were lifting a section of roadway intended for renovation work to the Queen Juliana Bridge, which dates from the 1950s.

First responders to the site were aided by air-ambulance helicopters.

The cranes and load toppled onto a second-hand clothing store and an art supplies shop, injuring the shoppers inside.

So far there is little information about those injuries, or the condition of the crane operators following the spectacular accident.


Investigation into Pilbara port injuries begins

The Australian maritime Safety Authority will investigate an incident which injured two men at the Roy Hill Port construction project yesterday.

The incident occurred on the Netherlands ship Happy Buccaneer, which left one man in a serious condition with a crushed foot, and the other with a broken leg.

The ship was moored at Stanley Port at the Roy Hill South West Wharf.

The Pilbara Port Authority said the accident did not affect port operations.

A spokeswoman for Roy Hill said the company responded immediately to the emergency.

“Roy Hill is a major operator in Port Hedland and has a highly capable emergency response and medical team based in Port Hedland,” she said.

“We received a request for assistance and our team immediately responded to the incident, providing medical treatment to the injured people before they were transported to Port Hedland hospital for treatment.

“Our thoughts are with the injured people, their families and work colleagues.”

The Maritime Union of Australia said the ship was foreign crewed.

Crane designer fined for 2013 accident

In a legal first a West Australian crane designer has been fined $16,000 in relation to a 2013 crane accident at Karara.

Entschmann Engineering owner Wally Entschmann pleaded guilty to breaches of the Mines and Safety Inspection Regulations after a dropped load incident, the West Australian reported.

A design modification which had reduced the thickness and weight of boom support plates an 80 tonne crane resulted in an accident during crane testing to 110 per cent capacity.

A load weighing 85 tonnes was dropped approximately five stories to the ground when the boom folded in half.

Perth Magistrates court heard the design modification rendered the crane unsafe to insufficient capacity per the manufacturer’s specification of 80 tonnes capacity.

Defense lawyer Adam Sharpe said the crane manufacturer and external verifier were also obligated to ensure the safety of the crane, however Entschmann accepted responsibility for the failure.

The company was also charged $5000 in court costs.

DMP director of mines safety Andrew Chaplyn said the safety in design was one of the major areas of concern identified by the department.

“We hope this sends a strong message to designers working across the mining industry, but in particular in Western Australia, that negligent or inferior services will be not be accepted,” he said.

Last week a crane tipped over during testing at the Roy Hill mine, and is currently under investigation by the DMP.

Australian Mining understands the crane operator was instructed by an inspector to override the crane’s computer while lowering the boom for inspection, causing the boom to tip forwards onto the ground.

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