Employees were exposed to the hazard of being struck by an unbalanced load in a nylon sling attached to a crane.
Employees are using a crane and a forklift to raise and tip a large press machine on its side in order to position it for shipment.
Activity at time of incident:
A crane operator was using a pendant control to raise a large press machine, as a forklift operator tipped the machine.
A crane operator and a forklift operator working in a warehouse are in the process of moving a large press machine in preparation for shipping it overseas. The 3,500-pound press machine is secured in a nylon sling, which is attached to an overhead crane in a basket configuration. The workers are attempting to set the machine on its side on a skid. The forklift is used to tilt the machine as the crane helps to hoist it and lower it on its side.
Using a pendant control, the crane operator began lowering the press as the forklift operator tilted it forward, when one end of the nylon sling securing the press slipped off the hook attached to the crane's chain sling. At the time of the incident, the crane operator was standing about two feet in front of the machine (too close) and was killed when the machine fell on him.
The load was not balanced and the sling was subject to slippage. It appears that as the machine was being tilted the nylon sling did not slide as anticipated, creating enough slack for one end of the sling to dislodge from the hook. The use of a basket hitch on a crane during such an operation would make it impossible to balance the load to prevent the sling from sliding.
There were no established procedures for tipping the machine using a crane and a forklift, nor did the employees receive any training in such operations.
The employees had just successfully performed a similar operation on another piece of equipment. One witness reported that they had tried lifting the first unit in a choker configuration but the piece could not be lifted, so they changed to a basket hitch instead.
The victim had one notice in his personnel file for passing under a suspended load. On the day of the incident, he was told by the forklift operator twice to stand clear of the suspended load, once during the first lift and then just before the machine fell. The forklift operator should have been trained to stop the operation until the hazard was corrected.
The employees did not recall receiving training on inspection of ropes, hooks, or other crane components.
The employer should have ensured that the crane was inspected in accordance with the above standards.
The employer should have ensured that the chains on the crane were inspected in accordance with above standard. Additionally, the employer should have ensured that employees were adequately trained in the proper use of slings and cranes. Further, safety procedures for performing this type of operation, using a crane and a forklift to tilt and hoist a heavy piece of machinery, should have been developed prior to the operation.
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