National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Services, NAHETS Blog

Archive for the ‘accidents’ Category

Anchorage Man Killed in Construction Equipment Accident

Posted by nahetsblog on October 6, 2010

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Anchorage police say a heavy equipment operator died in an accident at a construction site.

Police say the rolling compactor the man was driving fell off a terraced ledge Wednesday afternoon while it was being operated in reverse gear.

Police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker says the compactor tipped over and fell about six or seven feet, and the operator was crushed.

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1 dead in Kansas City, Mo., crane accident

Posted by nahetsblog on November 19, 2009

Nov 10, 2009

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One worker was killed and another injured Tuesday when a crane tipped over at the construction site of a Kansas City, Mo., performing arts center, police said.

The two men were in the bucket of the 100-foot-tall JLG Lift when it fell away from the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and landed across a platform of steel beams at about 1:40 p.m., officials said.

One of the men was pronounced dead at a hospital, said police spokesman Darin Snapp. The other was listed in serious but stable condition and was able to talk. Snapp said both men were in their 30s, but their identities were not immediately released.

Kansas City Missouri police officers look at a portable boom lift that fell at the construction site of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009, in Kansas City, Mo. One worker was killed and another injured Tuesday when a crane tipped over at the construction site, police said.

The men were installing steel panels on the building for Detroit-based subcontractor Midwest Steel, said Kyle McQuiston, spokesman for Kansas City-based general contractor JE Dunn Construction Group.

Construction on the 13-acre site began in 2006 and is scheduled to be finished in 2011. The $400 million center will be the home of the Kansas City Symphony, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and the Kansas City Ballet.

McQuiston said the construction site had no previous fatalities or injuries.

Workers were sent home for the day while investigators examined the site, said JE Dunn president Dan Euston.

"We have an onsite safety team down there and are working with investigators, both local and any federal agencies, to determine what caused this accident," Euston said. "We’re very deeply saddened by this event. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the families."

Crane accidents kill up to 82 construction workers each year in the United States, according to the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration. A crane at the construction site of a new federal courthouse in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also collapsed Tuesday, but police say no one was hurt.

A construction worker died last month after falling from a lift that toppled over and struck a downtown Philadelphia apartment building.

And two New York City crane collapses in 2 1/2 months during the spring of 2008 left nine people dead. Investigators have blamed faulty rigging of an 11,000-pound crane part in the first of those accidents, which killed seven people on March 15, 2008.

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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.”

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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 »

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 »

Fires Shut Down Southern California College of Construction

Posted by Taylor Morris on October 31, 2007

I am sure you have heard by now about the wild fires in California. It has been reported by various sources that over 2,000 homes and businesses have been destroyed or damaged, over 1 million people evacuated, and over 1 billion dollars in damage. The wildfires began on October 21. By now, most of the fires have been contained, and evacuees are returning “home,”(but not necessarily to their “houses”). Although a minor event throughout the fires, the National Association of Heavy Equipment Schools (NAHETS), was affected, as the member college-Southern California College of Construction (SCCC) was shut down due to the fires. From October 22-24 the campus was not in operation due to the heavy smoke and ash in the air. The hearts of NAHETS and SCCC staffs go out to all those affected by the disaster. Here is what it looked like in San Bernardino (location of SCCC):

Fire in the sky at SCCC

Smoke and Ash


Dust and Smoke

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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 »

Inspections Give Insight Into Industry Accidents

Posted by Taylor Morris on June 19, 2007

Nationwide inspections show that the main cause of construction deaths and accidents is “by a fall from height.” 24 of the 59 reported construction deaths and over half of the 4000 reported construction accidents last year were due to this cause.

In order to remedy these accidents the HSE has announced that over 1,000 nationwide inspections will take place throughout June and July this year. Last year the HSE took action against 179 construction firms, where falling from a height was cited as a significant problem.

Here is a glance at various construction accidents that have taken place within the last few weeks:

In Iowa city, Iowa a 49 year-old worker died after a crane fell over next to him, causing him to fall to the ground from a height of 37 feet.

In Indianapolis two workers at a mall construction site fell 40 feet. One worker died and the other was left in critical condition.

Over a four-day span at a Phoenix construction site, two workers died. One was killed by trench collapsing on him.

In London, a crane operator and three workers were trapped 100-150ft in the air after a 300ft crane collapsed and fell about 200ft.

In Minneapolis, MN nine construction workers suffered injuries when the third floor of a building collapsed on them. One worker fell 35 feet and survived with little injury.

A 50 year-old worker died at an Alton, Iowa Wal-Mart construction site after being struck by a piece of equipment.

An accident on a Mississippi bridge left one worker dead and another reportedly missing, believing to be trapped under the debris.

These are a fraction of the industry accidents that have occurred recently. Everyday more are reported. Although we may think these types of accidents do not happen at our sites or in our companies, the fact of the matter is that they do happen. Let us use these recent accidents as lessons and as motivation to stop the spread of construction accidents. When it comes to this issue, one person, one company, or one job site can make a difference-the difference between life and death.

Posted in accidents, crane, Education & Training, heavy equipment, heavy equipment operator, Home, industry news, Standards & Safety | Leave a Comment »

Accidents Plague Construction Industry

Posted by nahetsblog on April 3, 2007

In the last few weeks numerous accidents have been reported involving construction sites and heavy equipment. Some have resulted in deaths, others in injuries, and fortunately some in neither. However, the concerns of safety and monetary costs are undoubtedly at threat in all incidents.

In Darwin, Australia two families barely escaped injury and possible death as a 50-ton crane crashed into their homes.

Liverpool, UK has suffered its third crane death this year. One man was killed at Wavetree Technology Park when a crane fell on him while another was injured. Another was killed by a steel girder, and the last was killed by a crane collapse in the city centre.

Six construction workers were buried last Wednesday in Beijing, China when a subway construction site collapsed in on them. Their fate remains unknown.

A man was killed in New Zealand on March 31 when the crane on his truck and trailer fell and crushed him.

Four workers excavating and working on the basement of a three-story home in San Francisco were hospitalized with minor injuries after the earth caved in around them.

In San Antonio, TX a crane snapped and sent metal beams onto the 410 freeway. Fortunately, the freeway was already closed for construction work, and no workers were injured.

It is obvious that accidents are occurring too frequently in the construction and heavy equipment industry throughout the world. Some may be unpreventable due to natural causes or other means, but one thing that will assuredly help minimize these accidents is an increased emphasis on safety procedures.

In construction and heavy equipment industries there should be regularly occurring inspections on all pieces of equipment, certified and qualified operators for every piece of equipment, as well as certified and qualified managerial staff on site. Knowing emergency procedures and having emergency plans, as well as trustworthy and capable workers are only scratching the surface in aspects of heavy equipment accident prevention.

Perhaps the only positive thing to be gained from these tragic accidents is to learn from them. Such accidents may be able to help the industry eliminate the root of the problem. The goal is an accident-free industry. This is the aim of The National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools-NAHETS.

Posted in accidents, Education & Training, Standards & Safety | 1 Comment »