4th Metro Rail-related accident in 3 years; crane was in good shape, says contractor

Saturday’s crane collapse in Saidapet is the fourth Metro Rail-related accident in less than three years.

While Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) is yet to ascertain the cause of the accident, engineers point to a host of factors that may have caused the incidents and note the high standards of safety that are to be observed in sites.

A. R. Shanthakumar, former dean of Anna University said, “We cannot categorically state what caused the incident unless a thorough investigation is done. The crane may have moved and lifted the weight simultaneously, which increases the risk of accident; the counterweight may have been incorrectly positioned; the ground terrain may not have been favourable; a component of the crane may have gotten worn out or the weight could have moved away. Whatever be the reason, safety measures can certainly prevent such accidents.”

Sources in Gammon India, which is involved in the construction of the Saidapet Metro Rail station, said that the crane that toppled over was maintained regularly and had not posed any problem.

When the crane carries excessive loads, there may be a load indicator in the machine to alert the operator. But whether such an indicator was working and if so, whether the operator failed to take note of it is to be investigated, an engineering expert at IIT-Madras said.

Safety measures that include upgrading and checking the mechanism of the cranes and cordoning off areas in their immediate vicinity should be done, said experts.

An official from Caterpillar India, the U.S.-based heavy machinery giant, said that a routine maintenance of the crane alone may not suffice and a load check must be done once a year.

Also, the crane operator must be trained in standard operating procedures according to the type of crane he operates and be certified by a third party.

More In: Chennai | News