A window cleaner fell to his death in midtown Manhattan yesterday, after he had climbed out of the boom lift he was using onto a ledge.
Police would not confirm how far he fell, but the first ledge is around nine or 10 meters high. The man, 29, was using a 66ft JLG 660SJ but had left the safety of the platform and had not attached his lanyard to anything.
The deceased climbed out of the platform onto the ledge and then slipped and fell
The incident occurred outside of the Bank of America on Park Avenue just north of 26th Street around midday local time. The man was rushed to a local hospital but succumbed to his injuries.
We receive regular Death Wish contributions showing window cleaners on ledges, they usually get away with it, but as this incident demonstrates all it needs is a slip or a trip to turn into another statistic. Sadly in this case the man was provided with an ideal piece of equipment, yet he clearly felt that he needed to get closer to the glass.
One wonders what sort of training he may have received, did he lack the confidence to take such a big platform too close to the large windows and ornamental stonework? We will probably never know quite why he chose to climb onto the ledge.
The end result is a tragedy for dozens of people, ranging from the immediate and extended family to friends and co-workers, and even for those working for the rental company that owns the boom lift he was using.
Hopefully this will provide a warning to others who are tempted from time to time to climb out of the platform? At least then a little good will come out of this sad and avoidable death of a young man in the prime of his life.
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A self-erecting tower crane overturned yesterday flattening a van and narrowly missing a passing car in the German town of Geldern, north east of Duisburg.
Amazingly no one was injured in the incident, the operator- using a remote controller – was some distance from the crane and the van was unoccupied at the time. While the tower came down on the side street, the jib landed in the main road, where a driver of a passing car was able to slam his brakes on and manage to avoid the falling structure.
The jib landed in the road
The contractor that owns the crane, claimed that its overload system failed, causing an inadvertent overload situation as the operator raised a load. However it is also possible that the incident was base related.
The crane’s base
A builder’s van took the full force of the falling tower
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A man was seriously injured on Tuesday in Ontario, Canada, after he was bounced out of a platform on the end of a telehandler.
The incident occurred in Grey Highlands in the north of the province, while the man, 49, was working on a barn roof. The local police report that the telehandler rolled backwards and the change of ground conditions caused a catapult effect ejecting the man who was clearly not anchored with a harness and lanyard. We do not know for sure what type of platform was in use, although we have been told it was a simple fork mounted affair.
He fell around nine meters onto the machine, bouncing off and ending up on the ground. He was rushed to hospital, where he remains in a serious, but stable condition.
The Ministry of Labor is investigating.
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Cold Stress, explain dangers
When you’re cold, blood vessels in your skin, arms, and legs constrict, decreasing the blood flow to your extremities. This helps your critical organs stay warm, but you risk frostbite in your extremities.
The wind accelerates heat loss. For example, when the air temperature is -30C,
• With 16 km/h winds you skill can freeze in about 1 minute.
• With 48 km/h winds your skin can freeze in 30 seconds.
This means that your flesh freezes. Blood vessels are damaged and the reduced blood flow can lead to gangrene. Frostbitten skin looks waxy and feels numb. Once tissue becomes hard, it’s a medical emergency.
• Get medical aid.
• Warm area with body heat- do not rub.
• Don’t thaw hands and feet unless medical aid is distant and there’s no chance of refreezing. Body parts are bettered thawed at a hospital.
This means your core temperature drops.
• Blue lips and fingers
• Slow breathing and heart rate
• Disorientation and confusion
• Poor coordination
• Heart slowdown to the point where pulse is irregular or hard to find
• No shivering
• No detectable breathing
• Resembles death—assume casualty is alive.
• Hypothermia can kill—get medical aid immediately.
• Carefully remove casualty to shelter. (Sudden movement can upset heart rhythm.)
• Keep casualty awake.
• Remove wet clothing and wrap casualty in warm covers.
• Apply direct body heat—rewarm neck, chest, abdomen, and groin, but not extremities.
• If conscious, give warm, sweet drinks.
Here’s how to control cold stress:
• Wear several layers of clothing rather than one thick layer to capture air as an insulator.
• Wear synthetic fabrics next to the skin to “wick” away sweat.
• If conditions require, wear a waterproof or wind-resistant outer layer.
• Wear warm gloves.
• Wear hats and hoods. You may need a balaclava.
• Tight-fitting footwear restricts blood flow. You should be able to wear either one thick or two thin pairs of socks.
• If your clothing gets wet at 2°C or less, change into dry clothes immediately and get checked for hypothermia.
• If you get hot while working, open your jacket but keep your hat and gloves on.
• Take warm, high-calorie drinks and food
Infrastructure Health and Safety Association of Canada
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In the Bavarian town of Neutraubling near Regensburg, Guggenberger GmbH relies on the flexible SENNEBOGEN 643 M telescopic crane for diverse building construction and civil engineering lifting and loading tasks. The machine offers flexible implementation, regardless of whether prefabricated concrete parts must be lifted in, or if a container must be moved to a different location.
Founded in 1949, today Guggenberger GmbH, headquartered in Mintraching, Germany, is the competent partner for building construction and civil engineering, and services the Regensburg region with its own gravel quarries, concrete factories, and asphalt facilities. In this regard, deployment of the reliable SENNEBOGEN machines in the fleet of vehicles, also has a tradition that is similar in length. Since mid-2013 Guggenberger has relied on a new SENNEBOGEN 643 mobile telescopic crane when the task at hand is moving and loading material on the construction site. Wherever a stationary crane is impractical due to the concept or the temporal duration of the construction site, the 643 M is the equipment of choice, thanks to extremely short set-up times and maximum mobility.
Currently the machine is deployed in Neutraubling, not far from the headquarters of the company, for construction of a street of houses. Later a storage canal under the asphalt cover will channel the accumulating rain water and a small brook. The prefabricated concrete elements necessary in this regard are lifted with the SENNEBOGEN telescopic crane and placed with pin-point precision. With a maximum safe working load of 40 t and a comfortable range of up to 43 m with attached fly boom, the machine covers virtually all of the requirements on the construction site. The heaviest components that are taken up by the hook weigh as much as 9.8 t, this requires the highest level of skill and precision from the operator and the machine.
Thanks the robust mobile undercarriage with 4-point outrigger, the 643 M can be implemented flexibly. With drive speeds up to 20 km/h, the telescopic crane can be quickly converted and also remains quite maneuverable in narrow construction sites.
The machine is convincing in daily operation through simple service, as well as easily accessible measuring points and maintenance points. Guggenberger has particular praise for the generous maXcab comfort cab with sliding door. It can be tilted 15 degrees and offers the operator an ideal overview and an ergonomic working environment, thanks an air-suspension comfort seat and heating/air-conditioning automation. The local Sales and Service Partner, IBS Baumaschinen GmbH, is the competent contact on site and handles the regular service.
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WHECO has been a major player in the product support realm of cranes for many years, and yet the company’s management team spends a lot of time explaining what they do. But when it comes time to repair an accident-damaged crane or restore and give new life to an older unit, WHECO is most often the company name that comes up.
“We specialize in the repair and remanufacture of equipment, with an emphasis on cranes,” said Dave Wood, WHECO president. “We provide both engineered structural repairs to meet Federal OSHA requirements, and we have working relationships with many of the OEMs, and formal agreements with Manitowoc and Tadano America. WHECO was one of the first structural repair companies to provide all the engineering and documentation with all its repairs. We’ve negotiated complete crane rebuilds for both the military and private companies.”
Wood joined WHECO in December of 1986 after reconnecting with the company’s founder, Ron Williams.
“I had met Ron Williams several years earlier on a project my dad’s construction company was performing,” he recalled. “Ron was on the BOD that owned the project. He later moved to the Tri Cities, where we reconnected. At the time I joined WHECO there were about five employees and the company specialized in hydraulic work. We started performing complete rebuilds of equipment for a private power line construction company and the military in the late 1980s. It was these two industries that led us into the crane world.
In 1994 Wood became a partner in WHECO and soon after was named president.
WHECO built its reputation early on as a can-do company, he said.
“We understood the need to get equipment back into the revenue-earning stream quickly and knew that many things that were currently being replaced could be safely and economically repaired,” he said. “We also understood the high liability side of the crane industry and from Day One documented everything we did.”
Wood said the WHECO team has a philosophy to not “bruise” the customer, but to offer them a viable alternative to just replacing the damaged component.
“We also earned a reputation within the insurance industry as a company that could work with both the insurance company and the insured to assure a timely and smooth return to service,” he said. “We believe in being very transparent in what we do and that was something new to a lot of people. Also I think it’s our team members that are more like a family and the fact they have the ability to react and grow as WHECO grows.”
ACT had the opportunity to catch up with Wood about WHECO, recent projects, the product support market place and what he likes about working in the crane business. What we discovered is that Wood is an engaging, thoughtful and passionate business man who cares very deeply about the crane industry, its people and quality.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR WHECO IN THE CRANE MARKET PLACE?
Working with the OEMs and showing them we are really an asset to their product, not a liability. For years, and yes even today, there are repairs being performed that in all reality do not meet the OEM’s requirements or comply with Federal OSHA. WHECO has always performed its repairs with the cards face up on the table with full documentation of what we did or do. We have been repairing equipment for over 30 years and have learned a lot in that time. On the OEM side, this is a new avenue and the learning curve is long and hard for some cultures to change. That said we will continue to work at it and hopefully win them all over.
IS BUSINESS UP, DOWN OR THE SAME AS A YEAR AGO?
WHECO’s volume is up but you have to work harder and smarter to get the business and there is less margin in the work. When the ball rolled off the table in 2008 a lot of equipment was parked, and when a piece did have an accident it was many times just parked and replaced with another idle piece. We have seen a resurgence in the use of equipment but with guarded optimism. We attended Con Expo and were encouraged by the exuberance of the attendees. We have also broadened our scope in what we offer and expanded the type of customer we serve. We used to be geared more to the crane rental companies but now split that about evenly with the general contractors in the industry.
TELL US ABOUT A RECENT WHECO PROJECT IN WHICH YOU ARE ESPECIALLY PLEASED WITH?
We were contacted by one of the largest mining companies in the world about extending the life of a 38-year-old, 300-ton truck crane another 20 years. This crane is unique in that it can operate around the mine in full configuration with minimal support. A more modern crane takes more people and support equipment. The planning part of this project took almost two years of meetings until it was finally funded.
The crane was shipped to WHECO’s Santa Fe Springs, CA facility where it was completely disassembled to a bare weldment. Every weld on the crane was third-party inspected and documented to assure it was still structurally sound. All systems were completely rebuilt or replaced. The power and torque was increased in the carrier to give it better maneuverability and performance in the mine. The electrical, air and hydraulic systems were all updated or upgraded where possible. The crane was made more service and repair friendly, which the guys in the field appreciated and had some input on. Lastly a modern LMI system was installed.
The crane has been performing at the mine as hoped. This project has led other companies to take notice and contract with WHECO. We currently have two major crane remanufacture projects in our facilities and more being negotiated. With the replacement cost of new equipment many companies are exploring the remanufacture option if the return on investment works.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I tell Karen, my wife, I may never really retire as I enjoy the industry so much. I grew up in the construction business and heavy equipment has been part of my life since I was a young kid and it gets into your blood. I enjoy the daily challenges as there are never two that are the same and every time the phone rings this proves to be true. I enjoy the people and the relationships that I have made over the years. Some have become very close friends. In the big picture, this is really a small industry of very hard working and good people. I enjoy our team members as they are like family and some have been with us for many, many years.
WHAT’S YOUR BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY?
Simple: “Honesty and Integrity.” This was instilled in me by my dad who built his construction company based on those simple two words. If you treat people like that you can sleep at night. This is not only the companies you work with and for but the people that work for and with you.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ADAGE AND WHY?
“Every Day is an Opportunity Disguised as a Challenge.” This is framed and on my desk. It speaks to the way I think and the first time I read it I had to put it in print. It keeps you balanced when things may not be going the way you wished or thought they should. My wife will tell you I am the eternal optimist.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO IN YOUR LEISURE TIME?
My wife and I enjoy traveling and meeting new people and seeing new places. The Oregon Coast is our favorite place and we don’t get there enough. This business provides us with the opportunity to travel even though many times it is work related. We also enjoy our yard, kids and grandkids. My one vice is antiques and especially old toys. My office is lined with old antique toys, some over 100 years old. Most all are crane and construction related.
COURTESY OF ACT MAGAZINE, JUNE 2014