Crane Safety Experts Opine on Fatal Construction Site Accident


Crane Expert WitnessThis case involves an individual in Nebraska who was severely injured when he was crushed between a boom dolly and a crane. Upon purchase of the equipment, it was noted that the dolly portion of the crane lacked adequate breaks, and was sold without the accompanying documentation outlining proper use and safety procedures. On the date of the incident in question, the plaintiff was alongside the crane while it was being prepared for use. The operator of the crane was preparing it for use, when the dolly suddenly began to accelerate away from the crane, crashing into the plaintiff. As a result of the collision, the plaintiff suffered a number of debilitating injuries.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please briefly describe your experience as it relates to the operation of cranes like the one in this case.
  • 2. Can you speak to the proper design of cranes and crane parts, similar in scope to the boom dolly in this case?
  • 3. Can you speak to the proper product design for this boom dolly as it relates to the brake button, and the proper training that must be administered in order to operate this machinery effectively?

Expert Witness Response E-014054

Over 30 yeas of engineering experience involving cranes and lifting. I have designed components of cranes. I have tested and certified lifting equipment of many types. I have worked around crane and rigging crews extensively. I have investigated many incidents involving cranes and their associated equipment. I am familiar with this particular model of crane. I have been involved in their use at job sites and have investigated a number of accidents involving them in the past 20 years. I could speak to the proper design of boom dollies as it relates to the brake button. The requirements for dolly braking may fall somewhat more under highway transportation requirements than crane requirements. The basic training requirements are contained in OSHA and the ASME B30 standards. The requirements for crane erection and disassembly have become better defined in recent years.

Expert Witness Response E-081454

I have been working in with cranes and rigging since my army days, which lasted 13 years. Since then, I have worked a variety of crane manufacturers and training companies. I currently run a crane operations training and safety consultancy. Generally speaking, there are a lot of things going on in this case. Have seen near misses of potential accidents like this. The fact that there was no instruction provided is odd. Typically with these types of systems, when you put the breaks on the crane that usually triggers the breaks on the dolly as well. As the dolly did not break likely means there was an error on the manufacturer’s end.

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