Tipped truck

A tipped truck caused a little distraction for drivers headed north on U.S. 31 on Wednesday.
Becky Vargo
Jul 2, 2014


A crew from Direct Line Communications was attempting to set a cement box into a hole when a support leg for the truck sunk into the grass and the large utility vehicle tipped precariously on its side.

The only injury was to a crew member who fell into the hole after the fact. He suffered a minor leg injury and sought his own treatment.

Employees from Dick's Towing responded to the scene at the corner of northbound Beacon Boulevard and Madison Street shortly before 1 p.m.

They stabilized the vehicle using two of their big rigs, then slowly uprighted the tipped truck.

Field supervisor Kevin Forrister said no more work would be done that day. The company planned to bring in a larger truck to handle the weight of the box.

The hole would be barricaded, he said.

Forrister said his company, from Mishawaka, Ind., was working for AT&T.

He said the cement box in the hole would have to be removed and replaced.



This is bad. This is very bad. So totally avoidable. So dangerous. Such a big fail it would be funny if it weren't for the fact that it actually happened and someone was hurt, even if it was "after" the incident.

Looks like AT&T accepted the lowest bid for this particular contract? The Tribune reporting is a little oblivious to the facts as well.

From the pictures I am seeing, the incident was not caused by the supporting outrigger sinking into the ground. The back wheels of the truck are well off the ground and the outrigger is still nicely above ground level. The outrigger pictured has essentially acted as a fulcrum. (Think the pivot point of a see saw.) It did its job well, supporting the weight beyond the center line of the load being lifted and the (minimal) counterbalance provided by the trucks weight.

While a little inadequate and inappropriate, the 6x4 lumber and rubber base from a traffic barrel(?) under the outrigger pad at least shows some thinking. This displays an understanding of the effect of high load weights per square foot on soft ground. It did its job, the outrigger did not sink into the ground. What else could go wrong?

Inappropriate lifting equipment for one. Looks like the contractor thought a used pole truck would make a great crane truck. Fine in some circumstances I guess, but beyond its capacity here. Excellent for lifting the concrete box from the trailer right beside the truck.....

But seriously, who calculated that the pole truck could handle the weight of the concrete box at full extension out to the side of the truck? Some serious deficiencies here. The further the reach, the lesser the weight capacity of any lifting device. Ever wonder why huge cranes are used to lift essentially light loads onto the top of buildings? Pick up a house brick and hold it close to your chest. Then extend your arm straight out and hold that same brick. Get the picture?

I'm sure there were other factors in play here. How much were AT&T paying? How much did the contractor bid? How difficult/expensive was it to arrange closure of the inside lane of Beacon during this install? The truck would be right next to the hole and not a hundred feet away (well, it may as well have been) from the deposit position.

Maybe block Madison for a short time so the truck could be positioned across that street and not alongside the curb? Perhaps the box was heavier than the engine block? Hmmmm, perhaps this could have been the big clue....

How expensive to arrange a crane of the correct capacity for this lift/extend/install? Not as expensive as Dick's Towing to help recover the situation I'm sure. At least the mileage charges will be minimal....

I know, I am pounding on this contractor a little and it may well be the first blemish on their safety record. But this does make them look like a bunch of amateurs and makes me a little afraid of what contractors our major corporations are hiring.

It is basic physics. Should never have happened. No sympathy for anyone except the guy who fell (jumped) into the hole. But I wonder why he sought his own treatment for an accident on a work site...

I do hope the second box install (as evidenced by the trailer) goes well.


For a shorter review, looks like somebody forgot to check the chart. To much load not enough crane.


MIOSHA Coming to the site?


Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.