Safety is the most important consideration when in the presence of a mighty tower crane. It is not enough to have exceptionally well-trained personnel; a contractor must also consider the education of community stakeholders, such as the local fire department and other first responders who may be called upon to interact with the crane and crane operator should a problem arise. In the event of an emergency, proper knowledge of how to approach, access, and perform a rescue from a 150-foot-tall tower crane can make a difference if an emergency arises.
PCL demonstrates how to successfully
execute a crane rescue.
A crane operator is rescued during a training
exercise at the University of North Dakota.
Construction of the University of North Dakota
School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
A First Time for Everything
The Liebherr 420 tower crane has a 246-foot radius and is capable of lifting more than 35,000 pounds. When PCL Construction installed this massive machine on the University of North Dakota (UND) School of Medicine and Health Sciences jobsite, it was the first of its kind ever used in Grand Forks, North Dakota. As this was a new experience for many people, education for school staff and local authorities was critical; it also presented a new learning experience for the PCL project team members.
PCL Minneapolis superintendent Mike Schafer and his team put together an instructional presentation, complete with photos and details about crane security and emergency access. Representatives from the City of Grand Forks Fire Department, UND, and local first responders attended an information session that covered how to enter the cab from several access points, how to engage the free-spin feature of the crane, how to turn the crane off, the power tools required to rescue a crane operator, and the type of fall-protection harness that rescue personnel would need.
“Owing to the unique nature of this type of project, our team worked extensively with local authorities to develop a comprehensive safety plan specific to the crane, its operator, and the people working around it,” said Schafer.
Safety Beyond the Jobsite
The outcome of this teamwork extended beyond the completion of a crane-safety plan for the UND jobsite. “Representatives from Grand Forks gained valuable safety information they can apply to future situations,” said Schafer. Lessons learned by emergency personnel from PCL’s safety culture will continue to protect people in the greater Grand Forks area long after the School of Medicine and Health Sciences building is finished and the PCL trucks have left the site.