In October, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) cited and fined three of the contractors named in the Justad and Wong lawsuits Morrow, GLY and Northwest for their roles in the collapse. The agency found that the crews tasked with dismantling the crane paid no heed to manufacturer’s instructions and that removing all the pins and sleeves at once weakened the crane and allowed it to fall when hit by a 45-mph gust of wind on April 27.
For approving the pins’ removal, L&I fined Morrow $70,000. The agency also fined GLY $25,200 for failure to have qualified workers on the jobsite while the crane was being torn down; for not ensuring that the personnel on site that day followed manufacturers’ instructions; and for not taking into account the effect that windy weather could have on crane removal.
Finally, L&I fined Northwest Tower Crane Services $12,000 for not following manufacturer’s instructions, for not making sure their workers fully understood the task at hand and for not training its workers properly.
Soon after L&I’s announcement, Stever Frein, lead crane instructor at West Coast Training in Woodland, Washington, told Construction Dive that it’s not unusual for crews to take such a shortcut when dismantling a crane, as they’re often trying to save time. In fact, it’s so common for some companies to remove all the pins at once, he said, that some workers might be under the impression that it’s standard, acceptable procedure.