The TURNING over of a massive Lampson LTL-1000 Transi-Lift rig in a Hyundai fabrication yard in Ulsan, Korea on 25 April is being blamed on operator error. No one was injured in the accident.

The 1,000t capacity crane was manufactured by Lampson International in the USA. It has been owned and operated by Hyundai in Korea for 18 years, with no previous incidents.

Bryan Pepin-Donat, Lampson’s director of contracts and international business, participated in the accident investigation and told Cranes Today: ‘While I have not completed the final report, initial investigation reveals that there were several abrogations of operational procedures that were relevant to the accident. Lampson and Hyundai officials are in agreement on this point. A final report will be issued following compilation of all the data with recommendations relative to future operations. Lampson is working closely with Hyundai to in order to return the crane to operational status.’

He stressed that the Transi-Lift machine was not at fault. ‘Hyundai has successfully used the Transi-Lift in support of their operations for 18 years, achieving operational efficiencies supportive of and consistent with their original intent. Lampson Transi-Lift heavy lift cranes continue to provide exceptional, safe, reliable service, as all cranes will, when operated within the manufacturer’s operating procedures,’ said Pepin-Donat.

A Transi-Lift machine comprises two crawler-mounted transport units, with the front unit carrying the boom and mast support tub assembly and the rear one carrying the counterweight. The two transport units are not moment connected. This gives it characteristics that are different from a regular crane that sits on a a slew ring, and previous accidents have resulted from users failing to recognise the importance of these differences.

Pepin-Donat would make no further comment on the cause of the latest Korean accident until he had completed his report for the client, Hyundai. It is understood that the 1,000t capacity crane was lifting a load no heavier than 36t at the time it fell.

Four years ago a 1500t capacity LTL 1500 from Lampson’s own fleet toppled over at the Miller Park stadium construction project in Milwaukee, killing three men and injuring five others. In a damages suit that followed, the court found main contractor Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of America to be ‘97% negligent’ for proceeding with a lift of sail-like roof panels in excessive winds. Lampson was ‘3% negligent’ for failing to give its crew enough authority to overrule the Mitsubishi site supervisor.