Crane accident...

Norm_Hall

Well-Known Member
Very unfortunate accident. My condolences to the family.
During crane work, we would make our plan from the ground with the crane operator once the crane is set at the appropriate radius. We then know our pick weight. We use the "Green Weight Log Chart" to approximate log weight before each pick. It's a collaborative effort.

Sounds like both the climber and the operator were inexperienced.
If there were no witnesses or video, it's a he said/she said thing.
If what was told to Mark is the truth, hopefully the crane operator will "own it".
 

colb

Well-Known Member
I bet in the eyes of the law it's on the op who is required to be licensed but I never heard of a license to be the climber, least not state side.
Depends on state, but usually correct... NJ requires certs, right?
 

OasisTree

Well-Known Member
The charts are mandatory. Supposed to be in the vicinity of the operator. The issue is the charts haven't been truly updated since the 1940's when they were created for the lumber industry. There is such a varied weight on every species depending on a million environmental factors. Let hope a knee jerk policy isn't enacted by some agency.
I have found that there is a big difference on tree weights on whether the days are sunny or cloudy, with the trees on sunny days being heavier because they are transpiring and there is more water in the wood.

I can even tell a difference from the first pics in the morning to the afternoon pics!

So really how accurate is the log charts? They certainly don't factor that in! I always figure the first pic at about half of what I could pick, so I can see how the tree is going to weigh.

I also have the crane operator tell me what each pic weighs, so I can get a better feel for what the different woods average weight is.
 

OasisTree

Well-Known Member
I have found that there is a big difference on tree weights on whether the days are sunny or cloudy, with the trees on sunny days being heavier because they are transpiring and there is more water in the wood.

I can even tell a difference from the first pics in the morning to the afternoon pics!

So really how accurate is the log charts? They certainly don't factor that in! I always figure the first pic at about half of what I could pick, so I can see how the tree is going to weigh.

I also have the crane operator tell me what each pic weighs, so I can get a better feel for what the different woods average weight is.
Maybe this would be better placed as a new topic in the crane forum...I would like to hear more input on this, and see if others have noticed this.
 

owScott

Well-Known Member
I had a call yesterday regarding a crane accident that I'm wondering how you guys feel about it.

A young tree co owner brushed out a large pine tree manually and then hired a crane company to pick the remaining stick. It was not very tall at this point (I think 38 feet). The climber estimated the weight to be about 8,000lbs and he hired a 40ton crane to pick it. The radius was close enough that this shouldn't have been an issue.

The crane op ended up disagreeing about the weight and wanted to take it in 2. The climber went up and strapped it with a nylon eye and eye up high and the crane op didn't like how it was rubbing on some of the cuts and was worried it would get damaged during the lift. He said to move it lower a couple of times and then said ok. He then told the climber where to cut it. When it was cut the piece flipped quickly and struck the climber and killed him.

Question for you guys is who is legally at fault? Is there documentation anywhere that clearly specifies your answer?

It's a hard story to read I know, but we need to discuss these incidents if we are to improve our workplace safety numbers.
Mark from your post it sounds like there was only 1 sling on the log is that correct? Hard to see how you could misjudge the balance point of a 20ft vertical pick enough to flip it. For me, the operator and i must both be in agreement or I dont cut, simple. I agree with the others both screwed up, Legally not sure depends how the lawyers form the argument. Not sure on precedence here. My feeling is the crane op may have some liability. The contract i sign with the main crane company i use states i am responsible for what i do and my gear. This operator had a part in the pick as all operators do. Very sorry for everyone involved especially the climbers family.
 

deevo

Well-Known Member
as a company owner, operator of 2 cranes, as well as a climber, and using cranes for tree removals the last 15 years. It’s simple physics , sling high and cut low. know your weights, have a green log chart available. Use radios for communications, everyone involved should be on the same page, if someone on the ground sees something and it doesn’t look right I tell them to speak up, won’t hurt my feelings. As my good friend @TheCraneManInc says “no one ever got hurt or killed for taking a smaller piece”
I‘d say they were both at fault, why in the world would you ever want the slings more then a 1/4 of the way down on a trunk pick, dangerous, makes no sense and shouldn’t be done period if you are experienced and know what your doing.
pick below for newbies is where you should be placing them, no need to go any further down. Use 2 slings all the time for trunk picks, one sling wonders you see all the time the pick doesn’t come off balanced, swings jerks the crane etc. Don’t do it, use 2 slings for control. A good crane operator knows or should know all of this, have your pick pre tensioned as well so it come off nice and steady, up and away from the climber. From the beginning to the end of the crane removal, pre planning the job with all involved, communication and safety is paramount for success of the removal. Everyone goes home at the end of the day every day.
DC230C80-EA00-401B-8A0B-B60A089F2707.jpeg
 

VenasNursery

Well-Known Member
as a company owner, operator of 2 cranes, as well as a climber, and using cranes for tree removals the last 15 years. It’s simple physics , sling high and cut low. know your weights, have a green log chart available. Use radios for communications, everyone involved should be on the same page, if someone on the ground sees something and it doesn’t look right I tell them to speak up, won’t hurt my feelings. As my good friend @TheCraneManInc says “no one ever got hurt or killed for taking a smaller piece”
I‘d say they were both at fault, why in the world would you ever want the slings more then a 1/4 of the way down on a trunk pick, dangerous, makes no sense and shouldn’t be done period if you are experienced and know what your doing.
pick below for newbies is where you should be placing them, no need to go any further down. Use 2 slings all the time for trunk picks, one sling wonders you see all the time the pick doesn’t come off balanced, swings jerks the crane etc. Don’t do it, use 2 slings for control. A good crane operator knows or should know all of this, have your pick pre tensioned as well so it come off nice and steady, up and away from the climber. From the beginning to the end of the crane removal, pre planning the job with all involved, communication and safety is paramount for success of the removal. Everyone goes home at the end of the day every day.
View attachment 64996
Well said
 

owScott

Well-Known Member
as a company owner, operator of 2 cranes, as well as a climber, and using cranes for tree removals the last 15 years. It’s simple physics , sling high and cut low. know your weights, have a green log chart available. Use radios for communications, everyone involved should be on the same page, if someone on the ground sees something and it doesn’t look right I tell them to speak up, won’t hurt my feelings. As my good friend @TheCraneManInc says “no one ever got hurt or killed for taking a smaller piece”
I‘d say they were both at fault, why in the world would you ever want the slings more then a 1/4 of the way down on a trunk pick, dangerous, makes no sense and shouldn’t be done period if you are experienced and know what your doing.
pick below for newbies is where you should be placing them, no need to go any further down. Use 2 slings all the time for trunk picks, one sling wonders you see all the time the pick doesn’t come off balanced, swings jerks the crane etc. Don’t do it, use 2 slings for control. A good crane operator knows or should know all of this, have your pick pre tensioned as well so it come off nice and steady, up and away from the climber. From the beginning to the end of the crane removal, pre planning the job with all involved, communication and safety is paramount for success of the removal. Everyone goes home at the end of the day every day.
View attachment 64996
Everything said hear is 100% correct. I see other people doing wood picks with 1 sling makes no sense. In my 30 years of climbing i have seen the increase of crane use and subcontractors over the last 10-15 years. Cranes are an amazing piece of equipment that can make removals very efficient and profitable. People who do crane work well make it look easy, but make no mistake this is very dangerous business.I have done manual and crane removals, too many to count and i always feel very aware of the danger when i am cutting big pieces that lift above me. There is no small cut in crane work, smaller yes, but the nature of crane work is big cuts. I have seen experienced operators work with less experienced climber and i have worked with operators with less experience with good communication it can work. Both guys being inexperienced, as looks to be the case here, can be bad. As stated on a 20ft vertical pick putting the slings low enough to flip it is way off and someone should have caught it. Myself as owner have been on the ground and have seen a pick i didnt like how it was rigged and stopped the climber or the operator and made them rethink/do the rigging or the cut location,more than once.
 

Riggs

Well-Known Member
100% on the climber . Know what your doing .dumb way to die . If there's a section for stupid people in Heaven , I m sure he,s there ,Crane op will get his , idiot . Now lawyers will fight over insurance and who was more stupid. Don't work with stupid people , and don't be stupid, its a tough job , don't guess.
 

samsquatch

Well-Known Member
100% on the climber . Know what your doing .dumb way to die . If there's a section for stupid people in Heaven , I m sure he,s there ,Crane op will get his , idiot . Now lawyers will fight over insurance and who was more stupid. Don't work with stupid people , and don't be stupid, its a tough job , don't guess.
Sharp opinions have their place. But even horrible mistakes or accidents deserve peace.

These days I use long load balancing slings and am always ready to throw a half hitch high up on the pick so I don't have to worry about it flipping. It drives the ground guys nuts sometimes... I don't care.
Great suggestion with the half hitch.
As for the crane op's point with the straps rubbing - I don't see this being a real issue. Speaking of studies, that might be a simple study: how reps can a strap take rubbing on species X bark, at X angle, loaded at each straps's WLL.

I'm wondering too - if a guy takes a big impact & 1" drill bit with him and then sets 1 or 2 8" steel lag eyes in the sunny side of the pick, then nobody has to be worried about friction wear on straps or top becoming bottom.
 
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deevo

Well-Known Member
Sharp opinions have their place. But even horrible mistakes or accidents deserve peace.



Great suggestion with the half hitch.
As for the crane op's point with the straps rubbing - I don't see this being a real issue. Speaking of studies, that might be a simple study: how reps can a strap take rubbing on species X bark, at X angle, loaded at each straps's WLL.

I'm wondering too - if a guy takes a big impact & 1" drill bit with him and then sets 1 or 2 8" steel lag eyes in the sunny side of the pick, then nobody has to be worried about friction wear on straps or top becoming bottom.
I’ve been doing crane work for a long time, never had any issues with straps rubbing and creating wear on the slings, we’ve recently gone to chains, problem solved for that. Second idea, bad idea, takes too much time, thats a bad accident in the making all the way around.
 

allmark

Well-Known Member
angle, loaded at each straps's WLL.

I'm wondering too - if a guy takes a big impact & 1" drill bit with him and then sets 1 or 2 8" steel lag eyes in the sunny side of the pick, then nobody has to be worried about friction wear on straps or top becoming bottom.
They would also need to be rated for lifting. but definitely time consuming
 

samsquatch

Well-Known Member
They would also need to be rated for lifting. but definitely time consuming
Do they even make lag eyes for wood that are lift rated at all?
Edit: found my answer:
3/4" diameter x 4-1/2" shank length, Hot Dipped Galvanized Screw Eye Bolt
Screw eye bolts are designed for screwing into wood. And because of this, do not have a working load limit assigned to them because it is not possible to determine the various densities and conditions of the wood the eye bolts are screwed into.
Indeed, using them would be a ANSI and OSHA nightmare.
 
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Reach

Well-Known Member
I had a good conversation about this with our crane operator, who is likely the most experienced tree care crane operator in this area. It’s rare he lifts anything that is not a tree, and has been that way for years. His opinion is that, from a legal perspective, his contract says this error would be the fault of the climber. However, he says that in a real sense the fault is shared, though mostly the fault of the crane operator if the operator directed the climber in where to set slings and where to make cuts.
 

owScott

Well-Known Member
I had a good conversation about this with our crane operator, who is likely the most experienced tree care crane operator in this area. It’s rare he lifts anything that is not a tree, and has been that way for years. His opinion is that, from a legal perspective, his contract says this error would be the fault of the climber. However, he says that in a real sense the fault is shared, though mostly the fault of the crane operator if the operator directed the climber in where to set slings and where to make cuts.
I am a little confused here. Is his contract based on his opinion? I would be curious to see the exact wording of his contract. We can agree that once the pick clears the tree its on the operator. Does his contract says he has no responsibility for anything up to that point? From my view that is rubbish. IMO this crane op was negligent.
 
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Reach

Well-Known Member
I am a little confused here. Is his contract based on his opinion? I would be curious to see the exact wording of his contract. We can agree that once the pick clears the tree its on the operator. Does his contract says he has no responsibility for anything up to that point? From my view that is rubbish. IMO this crane op was negligent.
We are working with him this week again, provided the weather doesn’t make a mess of our schedule (again). I will try to get a picture of his contract then, we sign a new one for each project at the beginning of the day.
 
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