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Tuesday’s fatal construction accident at the construction site for the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is under investigation according to the Kansas City Star.

Authorities spent Wednesday investigating an aerial lift accident that killed one local construction worker and seriously injured another at the future Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

The man who died was 35-year-old Ryan Goodman of Lee’s Summit, Kansas City police said. The second worker, 30-year-old Shane Wagener of Grain Valley, remained in serious but stable condition.


Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators are researching what caused the lift to tip over. Euston said the investigation would include inspecting the lift and reviewing whether safety procedures were followed.

There are still many questions unresolved in this case. The equipment that failed has been described as a crane, a boom lift or an aerial lift. This type of equipment often suffers from design defects that permit the boom to be extended even if the stabilizers or outriggers are not engaged and locked in place and even if the crane or lift is positioned on uneven ground.

Crane and lift manufacturers owe it to their users to incorporate all necessary safety features. You can learn more about dangerous and defect products — including cranes and lifts — at our safety blog or at our web site.

Learn more and become a fan of Langdon & Emison on Facebook.


  1. Gravatar for Jeff

    This lift is a new design and manufacturered in the last year or so. This lift has many interlocks on it to prevent a tip-over including one for extending the axles. It is obvious from the pictures that the axles were out and extended. Besides the lift tipped over length wise or back to front, so the axle extend is immaterial to this incident. This is a fairly complicated machine to run and work with and I encourage anyone who is going to use any aerial type device to READ the operator's manual before operating the lift. If there is something in the manual you do not understand call the company who made the lift or delivered it for an explanation or familarization with the lift. This is a tragic accident. I hope they find out what happened and tell us. Unfortunally I do not have a lot of confidence in OSHA's investigations and any other investigation will probably be kept a secret from us by the ultimate litigation settlement.

  2. Gravatar for Craneguy

    Jeff is perfectly correct, the extending axles had nothing to do with this tip-over.

    Also, it will NEVER be referred to as a crane by anyone with an ounce of construction industry knowledge. Also, these machines are perfectly safe if operated and maintained properly.

    This article, were it in the real press, would be lazy, inflammatory and asinine. As a blog entry, it's barely worth the bandwidth it takes to view it. Shame on you.

  3. Gravatar for Craneman

    If you are serious about safety please get your facts right, Cranes and aerial lifts are governed by numerous sest of rules and standards that obligate the fitting of safety items.Manufacturers take safety very seriously indeed - they cannot affor to do otherwise and there is no incentive no to.

    This accident involved a self propelled aerial lift with interlocks an all required set up functions, such as the extending axles and lower boom.

    The fact is that the vast majority of accidents arise from operator error often caused by a lack of training. Sadly people like you - lawyers - tend to persue those with the deepest pockets knowing they are likely to settle out of court due to the high cost of defending themselves, even when the accident was not related to any fault with their product.

    If you are serious about your claim to promote safety you should be looking for ways to go after those employers and employees that take short cuts. Avoid proper training courses and as a result put others at risk.

  4. Gravatar for Brett Emison

    @Craneman and @Craneguy -- Thank your taking time to comment. However, I think your personal attacks against me are unwarranted. All I have done is try to bring to light important safety issues I see everyday. If you are really "craneguys" -- I work for your co-workers and their families every day. I've looked at blue prints, consulted with experts, seen the tests. I know that some cranes are built safer than others. I know that some (if not most) manufacturers cut corners and put profit over the safety of their products.

    I agree that all construction workers and crane operators need to be properly trained and observe the best safety practices. However, both of you have automatically blamed the victims. Why? Do you work for a crane or lift manufacturer? Do you have some other "skin" in this issue? You as "crane guys" or construction workers or just members of the caring public should want the safest equipment possible so other families will not have to suffer a terrible tragedy such as this.

    Unless you are co-workers of these guys, you can't know how they were trained or even what they were doing.

    This machine, quite obviously, failed. This machine was, quite obviously, dangerous. Take a look at your own equipment before blaming the victims in this terrible tragedy.

  5. Gravatar for Craneguy

    I'm not involved with crane or access platform manufacturers in any way, but I am a consultant to the crane rigging industry, and the first seven years of my career I was an operator of truck and self-propelled man-lifts like the one in this incident. Despite 80 hours a week in one of these lethal, dangerous and puppy-killing machines I'm still here to tell the tale.

    In that time I have only seen one accident involving this type of equipment that was equipment failure and even that was because the inspection and maintenance schedule for the equipment wasn't adhered to.

    So you have seen many crane manufacturers cutting corners have you? I agree that some equipment is better quality than others (as in all industries), but I defy you to cite an example of equipment that was designed to be less "safe" than others.

    Your comment that manufacturers install safeguards that can be bypassed sums up your ridiculous stance. SOMEONE HAS TO WILLFULLY BYPASS THEM OR OPERATE THE MACHINE WITH THE SAFETY EQUIPMENT DEFECTIVE OR OUT OF SERVICE!

    Either way, it is either human error on the part of the operator who should check each of these safety features prior to using the machine or willful negligence for interfering with them.

    You "Lawyers" are far too keen to apportion blame to the manufacturers as they are the ones seen to have the deepest pockets, and grow fat on the misery of others. (By the way, did that statement seem unfair or an over-generalization? Now perhaps you know how I felt when I read your ill-considered drivel in the original post)

    A needless loss of life is always regrettable, and I'm sure we all sympathize with the deceased’s family; however, don't you dare pretend you're interested in anything other than your fees.

    I notice how you assume it was the equipment that failed. What about a call for more training, or licensing to operate this type of equipment?

    More safety features do not necessarily prevent incidents. When you next get in your car, are you annoyed that you have to wear a seat-belt? Imagine if you had your way? You'd be putting on a helmet, a 4-point safety harness and flame-retardant coveralls, as would all your passengers. The engine wouldn't start unless you passed a breath test, and then the vehicle wouldn't exceed 20 mph as that would be safer. I could go on and on.

    So, take your head out of your briefcase, and realize that despite your wishes, we in the construction industry still exercise a measure of personal choice and freedom and therefore some personal responsibility. What we don't need is greater interference from the nanny state, or more regulations imposed to stave off the carrion-eaters of the legal profession.

    More training, more personal responsibility and employers giving their employees enough time to complete their work safely, that sir, is what prevents accidents.

  6. Gravatar for Brett Emison

    @Craneguy -- you know, except for your personal comments about me, I don't think we really have that much disagreement. Our goals are the same. We both want safer work conditions for heavy equipment operators and construction workers.

    I agree that workers and operators should be properly trained and that equipment should be properly maintained. Preventing accidents requires both personal responsibility and corporate responsibility. While you may not have seen defective or dangerous equipment on your job sites, I see their results far too often in mine.

    I understand that the legal profession has a poor reputation among the general public and that is unfortunate. There are many, many good, caring lawyers out there and the hard work of the many is undermined by an unworthy few. I work hard -- and the lawyers I know work hard -- to change that reputation.

    Our goal is that no defective product injures or kills another person. I've had cases where my clients have offered to withdraw the lawsuit if the company simply recalls the product so that it won't injure or kill again. No company has ever taken my clients up on that offer.

    There are many projects that I (and the other lawyers in my office) do with no monetary benefit to our firm. For example, my firm is a proud member of Missouri Trial Lawyers Care (Mo-TLC) and coordinate with the American Red Cross to provide free legal services to victims of natural disasters. Our firm, through legal and financial support, was integral in creating the Community Christian Center in Wellington, Missouri to provide needed services for that community.

    Let's focus on our common goal and make the world safer!

  7. Gravatar for Jeff

    I have a lot of respect for all attorneys. I feel both sides serve their respective clients pretty well. What I object to is assumptions and painting an industry with the "unsafe" brush. Like most news this one hit the front pages because of the venue and construction accidents seem to be news worthy all of a sudden with crane accidents.

    There are millions productive safe hours spent working with and on aerial lifts with not one incident or accident. The majority of service calls and incidents are related to the operator not knowing the proper way to operate the lift or its limitations.

    Just get your exercise at the gym and not jumping to conclusions.

  8. Gravatar for Safety Professional
    Safety Professional

    I have been following this accident and even went over it with our crew members yesterday morning. We all watched the several news reels that were found and also looked at the pictures taken. We saw many different angles and the one thing that majority of us kept coming back to was the welder in the basket.

    Above it is said that it was a new model, but I have used and inspected a variety of these models, including newer (albeit smaller) ones and they all have a weight limit for the basket. I saw a welder that looked like it had been fastened to the basket, which is going to reduce this allowable weight limit in the basket.

    Two average size guys, tools, welding lead, and anything else may push the limits to the max, which are not very large to begin with. All it takes is a heavy basket and a little jerking of the controls and your offset increases dramatically.

    Just something to think about regarding this incident. A tragic accident nonetheless and my thoughts go out to the families and co-workers of those involved.

  9. Gravatar for Dan


    I saw this discussion and I cannot help but chime in a little. I have the distinct pleasure of working on both sides of this issue. Lawyers are important, they keep the process honest, most of the time.

    Safety professionals are more important, their job is to stop the accident before it happens.

    Having to deal on both sides of the issue, though, I have to admit that the back side of the accident is the toughest. More than 90% of the time, accidents are the result of countless mistakes in a chain, any one of which will cause the accident not to happen. Those mistakes generally are the result of human error.

    The safety person works hard to be sure that the workers know that the lift has to be used properly, on level ground, how to extend the wheels and that it should not be overloaded. That worker still does not add his 250 lbs to the other worker's 250 lbs, plus the weight of the chains, to realize they are over the 600 LB limit.

    The worker still gets WC cover, the employer still has it hit his insurance, his experience mod, his workers, his productivity, his reputation in the community.

    The worker, because nobody stopped him from hurting himself, even though he may have been told that morning to add weights, still sues the manufacturer and the employer or the owner.

    This is where the problems lie, blaming the manufacturer, the employer, the jobsite, for something that the employee was counseled to do, but failed to.

    The worst part of it is that someone is greviously injured, and everyone is hurt over it, and someone is going to pay for the injuries. But, the worker's own negligence is never taken into consideration when the settlement takes place.

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