A serious construction accident has taken place in Vancouver, usually a very safety conscious city when it comes to construction work. The accident serves as an example of the consequences of safety breaches when high risk tasks such as crane operation are being undertaken on construction sites.
The tragic incident took place last week when a construction worker was hospitalised after being electrocuted while working on a site in the city centre. The accident had to do with crane operations which were happening nearby.The accident also resulted in the evacuation of the site after a fire and explosion erupted. The crane operator had to be rescued from the crane’s cab.
Thankfully the hospitalised worker is expected to make a full recovery however he was lucky, the situation could have been much more severe and the next worker may not be so lucky.
Read what happened according to a post on Canadian website www.theprovince.com :
The worker was injured when a crane operator at the West Broadway and Cambie construction site was pulling off concrete forms and somehow got caught up in the power lines.
The damage to the power line caused a brief fire and explosion and forced a full evacuation of the work site.
After the damage, the crane operator was forced to wait in the cab before being rescued.
As soon as the explosion was heard and the line began sparking, a mass evacuation was ordered at the work site. Syncra Construction is the contractor of the project and the company’s safety officer said he would not discuss the incident with the media.
Construction worker Carlos Almemdarez was working near the explosion and worried about his fellow worker trapped inside the crane’s wheelhouse.
“The crane hit the power line,” he said. “I was working below and they evacuated us immediately. We are lucky …..”
Because work involving cranes is always high risk it is important that operators are in possession of a high risk work licence and a safe work method statement is developed beforehand. Only certified, qualified and experienced operators are tasked with these kinds of crane activities.
Although witnesses say they don’t know what went wrong here, it is believed the crane cable hit the power line, resulting in an explosion. Workers heard a big bang and services such as electricity in the area were suspended for a while. A number of office buildings in the surrounding areas were shut down because of the power outage.
The crane operator who was trapped in the cab of the 200 foot high crane had to be rescued. Overhead clearance is an important aspect of crane operation safety and something that crane operators need to be constantly mindful of. There should be no power lines obstructing the work area and operators should also take into consideration the clearance needed from the swinging radius to the power lines or an incident such as this one is likely to occur.