Crane work is on hold pending probe of accident

Lane Lambert

The co-owner of the company in charge of the Goliath crane’s dismantling at the Fore River shipyard says work will not resume until the cause of Thursday’s deadly collapse is determined.

“Before we find out, we’re not thinking about the schedule,” Greg Nordholm of Seattle-based NorSar said Monday. “I don’t know when work will start again.”

Before the accident, Nordholm was expecting the entire dismantled crane to be on a barge ready for transport to a Romanian shipyard in early September.

Nordholm’s comments came as he and other engineers were meeting with city inspectors, the fire department and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Five days after ironworker Robert Harvey was crushed to death in the collapse of a 150-ton Goliath leg, Nordholm is hoping the city will at least release control of the accident site back to his company and subcontractors.

On Monday he and two other engineers with NorSar told building inspector James Anderson by letter that the Goliath support towers and other equipment are stable “and does not present a danger to the public.”

That letter – sent by engineer Michael Emerson of Duxbury – was the first of three conditions the city has set as part of a stop-work order issued Friday.

NorSar must also file a report on the safety of a building next to the accident site, and file revised plans for the crane’s dismantling. Emerson makes sure work crews follow all the safety procedures in the project’s building permit.

Anderson said work could resume if all three conditions are met to the city’s satisfaction, even if OSHA hasn’t finished its investigation.

Nordholm said last week that the steel on the torch-cut leg appeared to fail, rather than the support equipment that’s bracing the crane legs and the 1,200-ton main girder.

Harvey and others on the site crew had been preparing a set of hinges and hooks at the top of the 160-foot leg section, to help lower the leg to the ground for removal.

The leg wouldn’t have been lowered Thursday had the collapse not happened. Nordhom said it would have been “some days” before the lowering and removal began.

One of Goliath’s four legs was successfully removed in similar procedures a week earlier. The crane’s new owner, Daewoo Mangalia Heavy Industries, asked NorSar to remove the legs in one piece, instead of in two 80-foot sections as Nordholm initially planned.

Lane Lambert is atllambert@ledger.com.