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Rigging failed, dropping load on workers

Date of incident: May 2014
Notice of incident number: 2014156680040
Employer: Building supplies company

Incident summary
During the construction of a swimming pool at a public recreation centre, a tower crane was lifting a load of rigid foam insulation in packages from the delivery truck to the rooftop. The truck was in an area with ongoing construction, materials, and equipment. Because of the congestion, the rigger was positioned where he could not see the area under the lift. Eight packages of insulation were being lifted concurrently when the insulation packages shifted and the rigging failed. The insulation fell and struck the truck driver and two other workers, resulting in minor injuries.

Investigation conclusions


  • Inadequate rigging allowed materials to fall on workers below: The lift consisted of eight individual cubes stacked together. The stability of the unsecured load relied on the placement of the slings for balance to create a unified package. The three injured workers were all in approximately the same location when the cubes shifted and the load above them failed. The falling insulation boards struck them, resulting in minor injuries.

Underlying factor

  • Failure to coordinate workers on site: The prime contractor failed to ensure the coordination of work of the employers and workers on the site, which permitted workers to work and walk under the load. With the required coordination, two workers might have been prevented from walking under the lift and the truck driver might have been repositioned. In addition, if the rigger's usual position was also under the load, the prime contractor should have stopped and corrected the unsafe procedure.

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Publication Date: Jul 2017 Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2014156680040