Friday, July 16, 1999

Bengals stadium mishaps minor

Cranes have bumped into each other, but nobody's been hurt

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hamilton County's Paul Brown Stadium project has had crane problems but none nearly as serious as the crane collapse Wednesday that killed three workers and injured five others at the ballpark being built for the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team.

        The 567-foot crane collapsed Wednesday in Milwaukee while the workers were trying to lift part of a retractable roof onto the stadium. Winds were gusting up to 30 mph. The accident remains under investigation.

        In two Cincinnati accidents, nobody was hurt at the Bengals' $404 million stadium complex, said Stephen Spaulding, safety and environmental director for Turner Construction Co., one of the firms building the stadium.

        Last summer, two cranes bumped into each other. Another time, one part of a crane struck another part.

        New electronic monitors and other devices were added to the four tower cranes to make sure neither type of accident happens again, Mr. Spaulding said.

        “With the stadium project, we're on almost a constant state of alert there,” said William M. Murphy, director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Cincinnati office.

        The construction team building the project has an agreement with OSHA to maintain higher-than-required safety standards on the job, which is referred to as a “master project,” Mr. Murphy said.

        “Safety and health get a lot more attention on that job site in general than on most other job sites,” he said.

        Mr. Spaulding said the tower cranes being used to build the stadi um are inspected annually. Crane operators also are required to inspect them daily before starting work, he said.

        The tallest of the four cranes on the job is 220 feet and has a monitor to gauge the strength of wind, he said, adding that he knows of one time when the crane was not operated because of strong winds.

        The tower cranes in use on the stadium site are Liebherr cranes, whereas the one used in Milwaukee was a 2,000-ton Lampson crane specially made to lift extremely heavy loads.


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