De­sign flaw caused crane boom to fail

Trans­porta­tion Safety Board re­leases re­port into 2016 aqua­cul­ture ves­sel fa­tal­ity

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ERIC MCCARTHY

The Trans­porta­tion Safety Board of Canada says a de­sign flaw in a piece of equip­ment con­trib­uted to the death of 46-year-old Troy Jeffery near Mil­li­gan’s Wharf last year.

The TSB re­leased its in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port into the April 29, 2016, fish­ing boat ac­ci­dent that claimed the life of Jeffery, an owner of Five Star Shell­fish.

That day, Jeffery was per­form­ing spring main­te­nance on the com­pany’s oys­ter-grow­ing cages about one nau­ti­cal mile east of Mil­li­gan’s Wharf, when the boom from a crane and its at­tached rig­ging fell and struck him on the head.

A deck­hand on board the barge with him was un­in­jured.

An of­fice worker at Five Star Shell­fish, said the com­pany own­ers, who are broth­ers of Troy Jeffery, did not wish to com­ment on the Trans­porta­tion Safety Board’s re­port.

“At this point, they’re just try­ing to move for­ward, and bring­ing it up is very dif­fi­cult. They are just not able to dis­cuss it,” she ad­vised.

In its re­port, re­leased Wed­nes­day, the TSB found the de­sign of the on­board crane was flawed.

Lab­o­ra­tory ex­am­i­na­tion of the crane assem­bly de­ter­mined that the pis­ton rod could not ex­tend fully when the crane boom was fully raised. The rod was, there­fore, mak­ing con­tact with the hose guards, sub­ject­ing it to side load­ing and forc­ing it to bend.

Terry Hiltz, se­nior in­ves­ti­ga­tor of the en­gi­neer­ing de­part­ment of the Trans­porta­tion Safety Board’s re­gional of­fice in Dart­mouth, N.S., said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was able to de­ter­mine there had been bend­ing of the rod on pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions in the ap­prox­i­mately two weeks the crane was in ser­vice.

On April 29, 2016, the rod sud­denly frac­tured, caus­ing the boom to fall, strik­ing the op­er­a­tor, he said. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion de­ter­mined that Jeffery was di­rectly be­neath the boom, reach­ing over the side of the barge, at­tempt­ing to un­tan­gle cages from the main line when the rod frac­tured.

“The minute you put (the boom) down, the lit­tle bend that was in the (pis­ton rod) got hid­den within the body,” Hiltz ac­knowl­edged, but he sug­gested a thor­ough in­spec­tion would have re­vealed the flaw. He said P.E.I.’s Oc­cu­pa­tional Health and Safety Act re­quires that such de­vices be in­spected be­fore each use.

Hiltz said the Cana­dian Stan­dards As­so­ci­a­tion has a stan­dard for the de­sign of ar­tic­u­lat­ing boom cranes, but he noted those stan­dards are not cur­rently ap­pli­ca­ble once they are in­stalled on a boat.

He added that fish­ing boats are also ex­empt from Cana­dian Ship­ping Act tackle reg­u­la­tions with re­spect to boom cranes.

“It kind of fell through the cracks,” said Hiltz in ad­dress­ing the ex­emp­tions.

He said the board is not mak­ing rec­om­men­da­tions con­cern­ing its in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“We’re just point­ing out the facts in an­a­lyz­ing it that there is a prob­lem with the de­fences in this case: there wasn’t a de­fence on the reg­u­la­tory or stan­dards as­so­ci­a­tions that was in place for this par­tic­u­lar de­vice.”

He sug­gested it will be up to the or­ga­ni­za­tions out­lined in the re­port to make a de­ci­sion with re­spect to such ex­emp­tions.

Hiltz said there is no ev­i­dence in­ci­dents like the one that oc­curred April 29, 2016, are sys­temic.

“This is the first time some­thing like this has hap­pened,” he said in re­fer­ring to the TSB’s data­base.


A fish­ing boat ac­ci­dent on April 29, 2016, claimed the life of Troy Jeffery, an owner of Five Star Shell­fish. The Trans­porta­tion Safety Board of Canada re­leased a re­port into his death on Wed­nes­day.

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