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June 13, 2008

L&I prohibits two tower cranes from resuming operation

TUMWATER — The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) said today it will not allow two tower cranes in downtown Seattle to resume operation because they fail to meet state safety standards.

The two cranes were assembled using a portion of the towers, or “masts,” from one manufacturer and other portions from another manufacturer, creating hybrid cranes.

State safety standards require tower cranes to be erected, maintained and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and all modifications to be approved by the manufacturer and a professional engineer.

L&I said its decision was based on two factors:

  • A new analysis by an independent engineer recommends not operating the hybrid cranes during wind speeds of 25 mph for one of the cranes and 33 mph for the other. That is significantly less than the 45-mph approval rating assigned by the manufacturers of the original cranes.
  • Although one manufacturer, SunCrane, approved the modification using the other manufacturer’s parts, the second manufacturer, Terex/Comedil, prohibits using its tower sections in conjunction with any other manufacturer’s sections.

Electrical concerns also were cited when the cranes were shut down May 30. The cranes’ electrical systems have since been certified.

Contractors using the two Seattle cranes are Lease Crutcher Lewis, at a construction site at Fifth Avenue and Yesler Way, and Turner Construction at a site at 1823 Terry Ave.

A third SunCrane tower crane — not a hybrid — operated by Lydig Construction at a site in Renton, got its electrical certification and was approved for operation earlier this week.

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For media information: Elaine Fischer, L&I, at 360-902-5413 or visit the L&I News and Media Center at www.Lni.wa.gov/News.

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