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Archive for the ‘Amazing Stories’ Category

Company fined £100,000 after Croydon crane accident leaves driver crippled

Posted by nahetsblog on September 24, 2009


One of the country’s largest plant hire companies have been fined £100,000 after admitting flouting health and safety rules which left a crane driver with crippling injuries. At NAHETS Safety is our primary concern.

John Young suffered severe spinal injuries after the cab of the crane fell through the air and crashed onto the roof of the Croydon Park Hotel on June 2, 2007.

He has been left unable to return to work more than two years after the tragedy.

Passers-by reported watching the crane’s arm topple backwards 200 feet in the air and break free from its base before crashing onto the roof of the neighbouring hotel.

Firefighters who helped rescue the injured driver from the wreckage described it as “one of the biggest disasters in Croydon since the Second World War.”

The crane was building the Altitude 25 apartment block for Howard Holdings when the accident happened at around 2.20pm.

Three other workers were left stranded on the top of the crane’s base for five hours as firefighters from Croydon fire station launched a massive rescue operation.

Select Plant Hire Company Ltd, based in Dartford, Kent, admitted breaching regulation 9(2) (b) and 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998; regulation 9(2) of the Provision and use of work Equipment Regulations 1998 and; section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

As well as the fine, the company was ordered £15 victim surcharge and the costs were £33,196.

Judge Anthony Morris said: “The defendant company created a very significant risk of an accident occurring. In addition when part of a crane falls to the ground, the possibility of death or serious injury is extremely high.”

Posted in *Press/Media, accidents, Amazing Stories, crane, crane operator, crane training, heavy equipment, heavy equipment photos, industry news, Standards & Safety | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Walter Clough

Posted by nahetsblog on July 20, 2009

The story of Walter Clough is not a rare one for many students that attended one of NAHETS member schools. Walter graduated from the Oklahoma College of Construction and is working for APAC in Missouri making 35/hr. He is an operator, but also doing site plans and other duties. This isn’t Walter’s first HEO job since graduation, but it’s his first full time job. 35.00/hr is very impressive for anyone, however for Walter it’s…. well…you gotta know Walter. I asked him his secret to landing this job (Apac was one of his job leads in his original packet) almost a month ago. He walked onto the jobsite, filled out an application and was hired on the spot!!! That’s it! We always encourage our graduates to not be afraid to walk on a job site and speak with a foreman/site supervisor. These guys usually know what their immediate needs are before the corporate office does. Anyway, Walter has been encouraged to do this for quite some time….he finally did it and it’s finally paying off. Congratulations to Walter!

Posted in Admissions & Recruitment, Amazing Stories, awards, Education & Training, Graduate Placement, heavy equipment employers, heavy equipment operator, heavy equipment training, industry news, Member School Blogs, Member Schools, NAHETS, students | Leave a Comment »

18 Year Old Crashes Backhoe Into Police Car

Posted by nahetsblog on July 13, 2009

Redding police say an 18 year old male from Redding, CA, Trevor Traphagan, allegedly stole a backhoe construction tractor and drove it erratically down Oasis Road near Lake Boulevard around 10:20 p.m. Police officers tried to stop the giant machine, but Traphagan ignored all of their attempts. The officers then placed spikes on the road in front of the tractor, which were once again ignored and just driven over. One police officer reported that Trevor ignored all police lights and sirens.

Traphagan then turned onto Santa Rosa Drive and drove the backhoe into a parked police car while the officer was laying down the spike strips, police said. After tuning onto Dara Court, a dead-end street, he stopped the backhoe struggled against the officers but was eventually taken into custody, polices said.

Traphagan was booked into the Shasta County Jail for suspicion of driving under the influence, resisting arrest, evading a police officer, reckless driving, assault on a police officer and stealing a motor vehicle. Unfortunately all of these charges could have been avoided if Traphagan had enrolled to become a certified heavy equipment operator through one of NAHETS member schools. Instead of driving backhoes into police cars, he would be driving them into the future.

Posted in *Press/Media, accidents, Amazing Stories, backhoe, backhoe operator, backhoe training, heavy equipment, Member School Blogs, Member Schools, NAHETS | Leave a Comment »

John Deer Smackdown: Hill Climb

Posted by nahetsblog on June 3, 2009

John Deer goes at it with other companies such as CAT, New Holland, and Bobcat to find out who’s the best.

Posted in *Press/Media, Amazing Stories, Amazing Videos, heavy equipment, heavy equipment operator, NAHETS, Training Videos, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Parents Honor Son Killed in Crane Accident

Posted by nahetsblog on June 1, 2009

A large crane lies in the middle of a large New York City intersection.  The crane collapsed Friday May 30, 2008

A large crane lies in the middle of a large New York City intersection.

Ramadan Kurtaj was remembered yesterday at the spot where a construction accident took his life. His parents, Uke and Reyve Kurtaj, were granted a visa from Kosovo, and traveled to New York for the anniversary of their sons death. A picture of Ramadan was placed in honor of him at the construction site.

“It’s a big loss for me, it’s hard for me. I lost my son, 27 years old, it’s very hard,” said Uke Kurtaj through a translator. Ramadan wished to bring his parents to New York, but not because of his own death.

“They would never believe that they’d be coming to the United States under these circumstances,” said Xhevahire Sinanaj, Kurtaj’s cousin. “Their dream was different way, to be with their son. And now that they’re here and he is gone, it’s very hard for them. They’re very sad.”

Uke and Reyve Kurtaj mourn their sons death

Uke and Reyve Kurtaj mourn their sons death

Construction workers Ramadan Kurtaj (27) and Donald Leo (30) were killed last May 30 when the top part of a 200-foot crane crashed down on a Manhattan residential neighborhood. Their deaths followed an similar crash on May 15, 2008, where seven died in a crane accident.

Investigators have said a bad weld failed in the collapse. The workers’ families have sued the crane makers and prosecutors have launched a criminal probe. Their lawyers say the crane was put into service despite a history of poor maintenance and botched repairs.

Posted in *Press/Media, accidents, Amazing Stories, crane, crane operator, heavy equipment, heavy equipment photos, industry news, Standards & Safety, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

JCB Unveils 60 MPH “World’s Fastest Backhoe Loader” to Assist U.S. Army

Posted by nahets on February 12, 2008

Help is on the way for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not in its usual form. This time “help” is the “JCB High Mobility Engineer Excavator (HMEE),” a.k.a. the “world’s fastest backhoe loader.” I like to think of it as the “Batmobile of Heavy Equipment.” Its speed, mobility, and design will improve the capabilities of field commanders in front patrols. See batmobile of heavy equipment for the original article. See website directly below for video and other multi-media HMEE resources.

JCB HMEE Military BackhoeJCB HMEE Site

A few highlights of the article:


  • The HMEE travels up to 60 mph on paved roads and cross country surfaces
  • Full suspension and ABS brakes
  • Computer diagnostics
  • Run-flat tires and roll-over protection
  • 17.55 tons with armor and 15.75 tons without armor
  • 6.7-liter diesel
  • Lifts 2.2 tons, digs 13 ft deep


  • Provide battlefield commanders more capabilities in front patrols
  • Increase Mobility and counter-mobility
  • Provide water and supplies, build burms, lay electrical lines, etc.

JCB Construction Equipment is the creator of the HMEE. It was 4 years in the making and built specifically for the U.S. Military. JCB is the world’s largest privately owned construction business.

Here is a brief video about some other JCB military equipment.


Posted in *Press/Media, Amazing Stories, backhoe, HE Manufacturers, heavy equipment, industry news, Videos | Leave a Comment »

Beavers v. Backhoes

Posted by Taylor Morris on August 20, 2007

Over the last few weeks, Bessemer City, NC has been the battlegrounds for beavers and backhoes. The two have been fighting over the water supply for the city.

A Backhoe-Man's Machine

A Beaver-Nature's Machine

The first strike came from the beavers during the week of April 5-11, who dammed up Mills Creek, which helps feed the city’s water supply. Shortly after a city backhoe came and destroyed the dam. The beavers rebuilt it again, and the backhoe destroyed it again…

Although this would seem like a lopsided confrontation, the beavers put up a fight unexpected by all. Instead of retreating, the beavers marched, or swam, to the main water supply at Long Creek. There they built a dam once again. When they were discovered, the backhoe came again and wreaked havoc on the dam, but once again the beavers rebuilt.

Spectators may be amused by the continued perseverance of the beavers, but city officials express that the matter is having a significant impact on the city. Because of a water shortage, people are already on water restrictions, and now the beavers are compounding the problem. In 2002, Long Creek almost dried up, and the city had to purchase water from its neighbors at Kings Mountain. The city may have to do this again if they cannot stop the beaver dilemma. Bessemer City is not allowed to hire trappers to solve the beaver problem, because beavers can only be trapped on city grounds. Also, relocation is expected to not solve the problem, but only move it elsewhere.

Despite the potential water supply problems the city faces, city and industry leaders give credit to the beavers for their persistence and dam-building skills. Bessemer City interim manager, Allan Ferris, has said about the matter: “They’ve done an excellent job…The Army Corps of Engineers couldn’t have built a better dam.” Also, Matt Klabacka, president of the National Association of Heavy Equipment Schools (NAHETS), was amazed with the beavers’ backhoe rivalry. In response to the article he said “maybe we should hire some beavers at our member schools.”

So, for the time being, the game of cat and mouse (oops, beaver and backhoe), continues. The beavers are relentless so far, and the backhoe as well. Who will prevail-nature’s machine, or man’s machine?

…And for those of you who think a beaver dam is an easy take down…

A Beaver Dam

…Wikipedia reports that the largest beaver dam built was 2,140 feet long, 14 feet high, and 23 feet thick. In other words, this dam would tower over the one above.

For news coverage see:

Beaver v. Bulldozer 1

Beaver v. Bulldozer 2

Posted in *Press/Media, accidents, Amazing Stories, heavy equipment, heavy equipment operator, industry news | 1 Comment »

Flying the Flag For NAHETS

Posted by Taylor Morris on August 3, 2007

As of June 2005, Wade Vakulick was an Instructor for the Oklahoma College of Construction (OCC) . In August of the same year, he was appointed Chief Instructor. A year later…he was in Iraq.

In July of 2006, Wade was contacted by his Air National Guard unit. They notified him that he was to be involuntarily activated to assist in Operation Enduring/Iraqi Freedom. He was in Iraq for 6 months.

Wade-Construction Equipment Operator in IraqWade’s duty in Iraq was construction equipment operator, as well as project superintendent of the U.S. Army Iraqi Theater of Operations construction projects on COB Speicher. Before his deployment in Iraq Wade was activated in October of 2006, spent four weeks at Ft. McCoy in Wisconsin to do combat training, and then was deployed to Kuwait.

It was difficult for Wade to be away from his home and family for those 6 months, as it is for all who serve overseas. He also was concerned about what would happen with this job while he was gone. When he learned that he would be able to have his job at the OCC when he returned, he wanted to do something special for NAHETS to show appreciation for its support of him being in Iraq. In all sincerity he said:

“I wanted to bring something back for NAHETS from Iraq that would truly be an honor to hang on the wall, not just the normal little trinkets that one can purchase at the Base Exchange. I am truly grateful for Matt and the others at NAHETS for understanding my situation and as a result, NAHETS helped to contribute to the freedom and security of the United States of America and the Iraqi people.”

Wade in Iraq

While Wade was serving on Coalition Operating Base (COB) near Tikrit, Iraq, he was able to purchase an American Flag. He gave this flag to the Apache Attack Helicopter Squadron “Blue Wolves”, 25 Infantry Division Aviation Brigade. The Blue Wolves had the highest kill ratio of any attack helicopter squadron in Iraq. The Blue Wolves were able to fly the flag in an AH-64D Apache helicopter on an actual combat mission over the skies of Iraq especially for NAHETS. Regarding the event Wade said that “This flag is a one of a kind tribute to a one of a kind company. The flag is a thank you for the support that was shown to my family and me by NAHETS during my 8 months away from work.

Flying the Flag For NAHETS medium

Now Wade is back from Iraq and serving as the Business Relations Director for the Oklahoma College of Construction. The OCC is a member college of NAHETS-The National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools.

Posted in Amazing Stories, heavy equipment, heavy equipment operator, heavy equipment schools, heavy equipment training, industry news | Leave a Comment »

NAHETS Internet Manager’s “Blast!” Off To Tokyo

Posted by Taylor Morris on July 26, 2007

Three…two…one “Blast!” off!


The Internet Manager for the National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools, Mike Wille, flew in to Tokyo, Japan on July 21, 2007. However, he is not there to develop websites or work on flash programming; he is there to play the trombone and percussion.Mike Wille in Tokyo.

Since its opening in London of 1999, Mike is currently on his third tour with the Tony-Award Winning show, Blast!

There is no other show like Blast!. Nor are there any other performers like those who perform in the show. Blast! has its beginning roots in the Star of Indiana, the world famous and world champion drum corps. Blast! is a compilation of various musical, athletic, and theatrical styles molded into one ultimate show. It takes instrumental music and outdoor pageantry into a theatrical setting. Blast! portrays dancing, choreography, marching, drumming, acting, and instrument playing all into one performance. There are various props, colors, stage settings, and costumes that are used as well. The performers are the epitome of athletes and musicians, who are specifically trained masters of this new genre of stage performance. Wille said Blast! is like watching a ballet or play, where the dancers and performers are not just dancing and acting, but also playing the musical instruments simultaneously.Picture of Blast! Show

Mike received a scholarship for trombone performance in college, but decided that his best career interest would be a degree in computers, not music. So he graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Computer Information Systems in 2003. After graduating, he specialized in flash development and website development. He started working for NAHETS in January of 2007.

Despite his expertise and skill in internet management, Mike said couldn’t resist the opportunity to go to Japan for the second time and begin his third tour with Blast! He says that deep down he feels like a musician. Mike is the bass trombone player and percussionist for the show.

In between performances Mike will continue to be involved with NAHETS’ web development.

Posted in Amazing Stories, industry news | Leave a Comment »

Monster Machine Picks up Bulldozer

Posted by Taylor Morris on July 19, 2007

What do you think of when you hear the words “heavy equipment” mentioned? What images enter your mind when you come across the words “heavy machinery?” Or perhaps you have never thought much about those things. Typically, large pieces of equipment such as cranes, bulldozers, excavators, backhoes, loaders, and others are associated with those terms. And although these are considered “heavy equipment” and “heavy machines”, one could wonder if larger machines exist. They do. If you think cranes and bulldozers are big, take a look at the biggest moving man-made machines.

First is the giant bucket wheel excavator , a.k.a. ” the bagger 288.” It was built by Krupp in Germany of 1978. Biggest man-made moving machine

Bagger 288

This machine is 984 feet long, the equivalent of about six Olympic-sized swimming pools in length. It weighs about 91 million pounds, the size of about 380 Blue Whales, which is the largest animal on the planet. It moves on treads to different open-air mine sites. In 2001, last time it went on one of these expeditions, it traveled 22 kilometers in a straight line.

Driver Seat of Bagger 288 Bagger 288 on the move

The bagger eating a bulldozer

The bagger eating a bulldozer

The bagger eating a bulldozer

Although the average person would consider a bulldozer a large machine, for the bagger 288 it was nothing but a snack. And don’t think that the bagger is the only one of its kind. At Krupp’s site ( you can see more, such as these:

Despite how huge and impressive the bagger 288 is, it just would not be fair unless it had a competitor in size. In Lichterfeld, Germany there appears to be another “biggest” moving man-made machine. This colossus of a machine is called the Overburden Conveyor Bridge F60.

The Overburden Conveyor Bridge F60

Although it weighs less than the bagger 288 (only 11,000 tons instead of 45,500), its length is untouchable-502 meters, or 1,647 feet, (compare 300 meters, or 948 feet for the bagger.) It is also 202 meters, or 663 feet wide. It was built in 1991 by VEB TAKRAF Lauchhammer. After only 13 months in operation, it was shut down for “energy-political” reasons.

To get an idea of how long this machine is in relative terms, if the Empire State Building fell over its length would fall about 200 feet shorter than that of the F60. If the Sears Tower fell over it would be less than 100 feet longer than the F60. Note this comparison includes the lightning rods and antennas of the Empire State Building and the Sears Tower, which if it did not, the F60 would be longer in length than the height of both buildings. Also note that the Sears tower is said to be the tallest building in the world measured from ground to pinnacle point. Below is a picture comparison between the F60 and the Eiffel Tower.

Comparison between the F60 and Eiffel Tower

The Overburden Conveyor Bridge F60


The Overburden Conveyor Bridge F60




After seeing how enormous these machines are, we have not seen exactly what they can do. A last look at the heaviest of heavy machinery will give us a glimpse of what these massive human-built machines are capable of.

Before the last two machines were built, in 1969 “The Big Muskie” owned the show and was considered the largest moving man-made piece of machinery. The Big Muskie could move 39 million pounds of earth every hour. It could uncover coals seams up to 150 feet into the earth’s crust. It could “swing its boom” 600 feet across the landscape. It remained in full-production until 1991, when it was shut down. It was later scrapped and only its enormous metal bucket still remains as a roadside attraction in Reinersville, Ohio.

The Big Muskie The Big Muskie

An even more impressive illustration of what these man-made machines can do is depicted in looking at the largest man-made holes in the world. The diamond mine in Siberia is 525 meters (1,722 feet) deep, and is 1.25 kilometers in diameter, 0r about 8/10 of a mile.

Diamond Mine in Siberia. One of the largest man-made holes in the world. Diamond Mine in Siberia. One of the largest man-made holes in the world.

Diamond Mine in Siberia. One of the largest man-made holes in the world.

The red arrow in the picture directly above is pointing to a huge mining truck. It takes the truck over two hours to get from the bottom of the mine to the top.

Although the uses of these pieces of heavy equipment are not as common as the backhoe you see on the side of the road, or the crane next to your work building, they are nonetheless intriguing spectacles for the human eye and mind-with a significant purpose. What makes them even more impressive is the fact that they are built and operated by humans. Without the training of heavy equipment operators, the construction of these machines is useless. And whether it is a backhoe, crane, or the Big Muskie being operated, the credentials to operate must be the same: professional training and education, in-class and on-site instruction, certification and licensing, safety, and standards. This is the NAHETS ( vision; and although you will not find the bagger 288 at NAHETS training schools, you will find the above credentials. This is our mission-to provide society with the “heaviest” of the heavy equipment operators.









Posted in Amazing Stories, heavy equipment, heavy equipment photos, heavy equipment schools | Leave a Comment »