Design flaw caused crane boom to fail
Transportation Safety Board releases report into 2016 aquaculture vessel fatality
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.