Netherlands Crane Collapse: August 3, 2015 - An Ops Risk Lesson

Here is a lesson in operations risk management.  Two cranes are working in tandem to raise and position a large bridge span and its steel super-structure.  The cranes are operating on a floating barge (!!!).  I would think it predictable that as the combined weight of the cranes and span swung to one side, the barge would list.  Nobody seemed to react when the barge started first to rock and then list, or not quickly enough.  It might have been too late in any case.  One crane toppled off the barge.  The bridge span fell and one side of the span hit one of the second crane's footings.  The second crane then slid off the barge, and the entire thing toppled next to the first crane.  Someone did not think this operation through in its entirety.  Or (my guess), maybe the barge was to have been stabilized, but someone neglected to do that, and nobody double-checked to see that it was.  Results: 20 people injured; extensive building and contents damage; displaced occupants; cleanup and repair costs; and a delayed bridge project. 

By Brian Cummings

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The project manager probably had solid bone between his / her ears! Not a complicated situation at all, some plain logic could have avoided this fiasco.