Crane Institute of America

What Really Happened?

outrigger damages cars UKHeavy Lift News reported on an incident in the UK where an all-terrain crane’s outrigger damaged three cars.

There are two sides to every story: the factual one, and the side of the person who did something wrong or made a mistake and won’t admit it.

It looks like a case in point here: this crane outrigger beam was likely extended before the operator tried to drive the crane. When resources are scarce, operators may get in a hurry or cut a corner to try to get the job done on time.

The right rear is the “blind side” outrigger. Given a choice, most operators will use a signalperson to extend and retract it, but because of cost on many jobs there is no signalperson. If that is the case, the operator should get out of the cab and check the outrigger him/herself.

To operate an outrigger, two out of five switches must be depressed at the same time. The operator contended that the outrigger beam came out by itself, but this would require simultaneous failure of the exact two switches for the right rear outrigger–an extremely unlikely event.

Instead, we surmise that the operator tried to rely on the sound of the hydraulic system and the sound the beam makes when it is fully retracted… and didn’t realize the “blind side” outrigger was still out until it had done serious damage. Thankfully in this incident no person was injured.