UPDATE: June 27, 2019: Bigge Crane has released an official statement regarding the deadly June 9 collapse of one of its tower cranes in downtown Dallas and said it believes that "extremely high winds" in the area that day were the cause.
Crane company officials said that Bigge provided the crane to developer Greystar for use at the site but that the jobsite was closed and the crane was not in use at the time of the collapse. Bigge said that on the day before the accident, the operator put the crane in "out-of-service mode per the crane manufacturers requirements."
There has been speculation in the days since the collapse that the operator did not allow the crane’s boom to "weathervane," or spin in the wind, by releasing the swing brake. This reduces wind resistance.
Bigge said safety is a "core value" of the company and that it intends to continue to work with investigators, including those from OSHA, to determine the exact cause of the collapse.
"We owe it to those most affected by this tragic accident to get the independent investigation right, and we will most certainly do our part," Bigge said in its statement.
- A construction crane collapsed Sunday, killing one person, injuring several others and causing extensive damage to a downtown Dallas apartment building and parking garage, The Dallas Morning News reported.
- The crane, owned and operated by Bigge Crane and Rigging, according to NBC 5 DFW, was toppled by wind gusts of up to 70 mph as an afternoon storm swept through the area. At publication time it was unclear which project the crane was working on although developer Greystar, which owns the damaged Elan City Lights apartment complex, also has another apartment building under construction next door, The Gabriella. Construction Dive was not able to reach Greystar by the time of publishing.
- Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax told The Morning News that the city does not currently require crane inspections but that it would work with OSHA, which has already started an investigation of the collapse, to determine if there are any procedures it should implement going forward.
OSHA has previously cited Bigge for crane-related safety violations several times out of the 26 establishment inspections the agency has recorded for the company during the last decade, but it's too soon in the investigation to determine if Bigge could have prevented the collapse, especially given the other damage that high-wind gusts caused in the area at the same time as the downtown Dallas accident.
Wind gusts were also a factor in a deadly April crane collapse in Seattle. The accident, which took place at a Google construction site, saw a tower crane come down onto the street below, killing four people, but the winds were at a much lower speed than they were in Dallas this past weekend. Experts have surmised that a likely factor in the Seattle collapse was that crews dismantling the tower crane had removed bolts up and down the mast prematurely. This has become a time-saving disassembly technique but is thought to have caused at least one other accident in the Dallas area in 2012.
Immediately after the Seattle accident, officials had to field questions about the fact that the city does not require special permits or road closures when cranes are in use. Seattle DOT officials said the decision as to whether to block off roads or use other traffic control measures is left up to the contractor's judgment.