Friday, September 9, 2011

Harculo Crane Accident

I have been meaning to post a blog about this accident for some time now. However, I don't like to just post a video without some type of information to set up what you are about to watch. I have spent numerous hours online trying to find information regarding this accident. Perhaps because it was in the Netherlands, it has made it so hard to find information on this. This is the perfect accident to perform a case study on so I wish more information was readily available. I have seen this video in training within my company on several occasions for all the right reasons. It was a catastrophic failure that could have been avoided.

This accident happened on October 17th of 2003 at the Harculo Power Plant Netherlands. The Harculo Power Plant is a natural gas plant in Zwolle, Netherlands. It has an output of 349MW. It is important to know that the plant was mothballed in 2001 and then brought back into production in 2002. This is a good indicator as to the condition of the cranes during this overhaul that was taking place at the time of the failure.

I have read several different blogs on this accident. Many say that it was a wire rope failure. Some say operator error, or even the crane manufacturer. The more I look at this though the less I think it was a wire rope failure. It looks more like a load brake failure to me. If it was a wire rope I think it would have dropped quicker than it did, and you would have seen the frayed ends on top of the rotor when it fell to the ground. This crane was hoisting and moving a 70 ton gas turbine rotor that was worth 8.5 million dollars. The failure almost killed two workers. They were so close to the drop that it must have been pretty traumatic for them. This is a great video for training purposes to show why you should not be standing under a load during operation.

It you get anything out of this video, I hope you get how important load brake inspections are. Load brakes cannot be inspected during a routine quarterly or annual inspection. This is an inspection in and of itself. Especially on larger cranes like this one it will take a couple guys and will take the entire day to go through the dis assembly and inspection process. Check with your hoist manual to see when the frequency of gear box inspections should take place on your equipment. Now.. check out this video and tell me what you think....