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Experts Cite a Common Mistake Could Have Caused the Crane Collapse in Seattle

Crane accidents are a problem across the nation. In April, a crane collapsed and fell onto a busy street in Seattle. The incident claimed the lives of four people and injured four more. Though the official investigation is ongoing, some experts who’ve examined images of the accident site believe they know what caused the collapse. They also say that it’s a common practice that could cause accidents throughout the state.

Crane collapses are especially prevalent in North Texas. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration set up a special initiative to encourage crane owners and operators to be safer in North Texas. Unfortunately, the efforts were not enough to prevent a serious accident from happening in Dallas last June, where a crane collapsed at the Elan City Lights apartments. The incident killed one person, injured six, and displaced hundreds. Arnold & Itkin is currently representing six survivors of the Dallas crane collapse, and our team is fighting to ensure that these incidents are prevented in the future.

Removing Tower Pins Too Early: A Dangerous Crane Safety Practice

When crews dismantle a crane, they do so by removing most of the bolts holding it to a structure. To support the structure just enough to keep it standing, these crews leave a few bolts connected to the crane and its structure. Removing bolts, also called pins, from a crane’s tower can make removal a simpler process. However, a crane with fewer pins means that its structure is exceptionally susceptible to winds it would have otherwise easily withstood. To avoid compromising the strength of a crane, crews should remove them section by section, and avoid removing bolts early to save time.

According to the Seattle Times, some experts believe that this practice triggered the Seattle crane collapse. When winds pick up around a crane that is partially secured, it is likely to come crashing down. This happened in 2012 in just outside of Dallas and looks to be the focus of investigators handling the Seattle crane collapse. While examining footage of the Seattle collapse, tower-crane operator Terry McGettigan stated that the way the crane fell is consistent with the effects of having pins removed too early.

“The cab just flies off, it just shoots off like a missile and then the two sections that follow the cab, shoots off like a missile. Every two sections are together. That’s because the pins are still in the other two sections,” said McGettigan.

Greg Teslia, president of Crane & Safety Inspections, had more critical words after seeing footage of the accident. “To me, it’s more than obvious it was a shortcut and four people paid their lives because of it. To save a couple hours, that’s the only reason,” he said.

If you’ve suffered because of a crane accident, it was likely preventable, and answers are available for your suffering. Call our crane collapse accident attorneys today at (888) 493-1629 for a free consultation.