Fatal crane accident brazil: An open letter to CEO Marcelo Odebrecht

On 27 November 2013, two people died in an crane accident at Sao Paulo’s stadium.  Mike Ponsonby BA wrote an letter to CEO Marcelo Odebrecht, “as we need to improve Safety standards in the Crane Industry Worldwide, as these incidents are far too frequent“.

——– The letter (1-1-2014): ——–

Dear Mr. Odebrecht,

Time and Tide Wait for No Man, so as 30 days has now elapsed since this Appalling Fatal Crane Incident in Brazil which Killed Two Men on Wednesday 27th November 2013. It therefore follows that if No-one else will speak-up for these Dead Men, I will.

The excellent Liebherr LR11350 Crawler Crane is a first class Machine and very safe too, as it is fitted with the exemplary LICCON control system which records all Voluntary and Involuntary Actions & Reactions of Operator and Machine. The Mfrs Duty Charts are an excellent source of data, so my initial research was to establish the Forces and Mass Involved.

My Motivation was to calculate the Ground Loading applied through the Tracks of this machine to the Earth it was standing upon. To do this I scaled the earlier Photos of your Liebher LR11350 Crane published to the World in 2012. This scaling of dimensions confirmed to me that…

a) Your Crane was Rigged as a ‘Suspended Derrick Boom’ (SDB) with main Boom of circa 102 Metres & 42 Metres Back Boom.

b) The Mfrs Duty Charts confirms the Gross weight of your Crane including 320 tonnes of Ballast on the Carbody and 600 tonnes on the Suspended Superlift Tray at rear, to be circa 1723 tonnes.

c) The Odebrecht Press Release confirms that the Roof Steelwork load lifted was 420 tonnes net, which with the normal 10% Factor of Safety to allow for the ULW of all Lifting Beams, Slings, Rigging, Shackles & other Unknown Variables in this Large Steel Fabrication, means that the Gross Weight of Crane and Load was circa 2185 tonnes.

d) The Contact Area of the Two Std Fitment Tracks on this Crawler Crane are 2m wide x 14m long or 28 square metres each, which gives a total of 56 square metres. (56m2)

e) Therefore dividing the Gross Weight of circa 2185 tonnes by the Square Area of the Tracks gives the actual imposed load of 39.02 Tonne Metre Squared (Tm2) on the ground, at the point of Lift.

This particular Liebherr LR11350 Crane would have been supplied by the Mfr with the excellent LICCON Work Planner (Described as Universal Einsatzplaner on the steel case) plus a Lift-Plan CD Rom for each Crane delivered. The use of these Two Items allows all Crane Lifts to be Pre-planned in advance, using a Multiplicity of Boom, Ballast and Radius configurations.

So this then raises a number of additional questions….

f) Was a Lift Plan Drawn-up for this particular Lift, or Series of Lifts ?

g) Did the Actual Lift on 27th November 2013 of 420t suspended load on the Hook, match the same SDB Boom, Ballast and Radius parameters as the Original Lift Plan drawn-up for this Crane ?

h) If NOT, was there a variation between the Two Sets of Lift Plan Parameters and was another Lift Plan then drawn-up to Re-plan this particular Lift & Travel Operation ?

i) What was the Ground Bearing Pressure (GBP) at the Point of Lift ?

j) What size and quantity of Steel or Hardwood Mats were intended to go under the Tracks at the Time of Traveling this Crane Forward with 420 tonnes on the Hook, to reduce the High Point Loadings through the Tracks ?

Mr. Odebrecht, as Worker Safety is my Core Value and your Company was the Main Contractor, with this fatal lift authorised by your Management Team. I am now formally requesting on behalf of all those Men killed by Cranes over the years, that you personally authorise the publication of the final 30 seconds of Data stored on the excellent LICCON system on this LR11350 Machine, as the Crane World needs to know what was the Root Cause of this Fatal Incident on Wednesday 27th November 2013 ?

Please feel free to disprove my calculations above, as my sole motivation is Worker Safety.

Yours most Sincerely,

Michael J. Ponsonby BA


When we receive a reaction of Marcelo Odebrecht or Odebrecht Infrastructure, we will publish it on this website as well.

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