Last week's crane accident on Hamdan Street was caused by defective equipment and untrained crane operators, an investigation has found.
25 safety violations blamed for crane fall
ABU DHABI // More than 25 safety violations, including defective equipment and inadequate supervision, have been blamed for the collapse of the crane that caused major traffic disruptions on Hamdan Street last week.
The incident investigation report released by the municipality yesterday said the Al Hareef demolition company did not regularly inspect the crane or perform preventive maintenance.
The crane was old, defective and not in compliance with municipal health and safety regulations, the report said.
Abdulaziz Zurub, the health, safety and environment manager at the municipality, said last week that site visits had uncovered violations including improper welding on the crane.
"It is very lucky that no one was hurt," Mr Zurub said.
The mobile crane, called a crawler crane, fell about 9.40am on July 12 near the junction of Salam and Hamdan streets. The report said the accident occurred when the crane's wrecking ball became lodged in debris on the demolition site.
To try to free the ball, the operator raised the crane's boom to a height that exceeded "the safe factor boom angle". The boom broke and the force of the break caused it to bend backwards and over the crane's cabin.
TUV Middle East, the company that carried out the investigation on behalf of the municipality, said last week that the crane did not have a safety certificate and would not have passed one of its safety inspections.
The report did not outline specific faults with the crane but did describe the equipment as "defective". The investigation also concluded the company was operating the crane without the proper authority or permits. No one was injured in the incident.
Ali Ahmed El Taher, a project manager for Al Hareef, attributed the accident to "human error".
"Our internal investigation is under way," Mr El Taher said. "We are questioning foremen and crane operators."
The investigation report cites "inadequate capability" of the crane operator and "lack of knowledge/training" and "lack of skill" as root causes of the accident.
The company is not one of the municipality's 25 registered demolition companies. Last week, the municipality shut down all of Al Hareef's operations, including the project on Hamdan Street.
The demolition company, which has operated in the UAE for four years, was not fined but no new building or demolition permits will be issued to it until it registers and is approved by the municipality.
Corrective actions in the investigation report will require Al Hareef to have its equipment tested and inspected by third-party companies approved by the municipality.
Al Hareef was also directed to develop a health and safety plan to be revised and updated regularly, and submit monthly health and safety reports.
The municipality will begin implementing new health and safety guidelines this year that include regulations on lifting equipment inspections.
Third-party companies will issue safety certificates, which contractors and construction companies must show to municipal safety inspectors on regular site visits.
New municipal regulations will also require that all equipment operators receive some qualification training.
Workshops led by the third-party inspectors will be held to educate builders on the new laws. The municipality has recently prioritised heath and safety, particularly on construction sites. In the capital, more than 20 municipal workers carry out daily inspections.
Al Hareef manager denies report
ABU DHABI // A representative for Al Hareef demolition company yesterday denied his firm’s crane broke more than 25 municipal safety regulations, as claimed in the municipality report.
“I don’t think that’s accurate,” said Ali Ahmed El Taher, a project manager at Al Hareef.
An investigation report released by the municipality called the crane defective and in violation of more than two dozen health and safety regulations.
But Mr El Taher insists the crane was licensed and insured by the Abu Dhabi Police.
“What happened was caused by a human error, that’s all,” he said.
The municipality shut down all of Al Hareef’s projects last week.
Mr El Taher said the company was using the time to take a closer look at its equipment.
“We hope it will never happen again,” Mr El Taher said. “The crane will undergo maintenance work and will be reconditioned.”
* Jen Thomas