A root cause analytical investigation of the causation of a potentially fatal collision of two Komatsu excavators with a locally important bridge on the I-5 freeway in the State of Washington was executed recently. Mr Jeff Guzzetti, former Director, Accident Investigation Division of the Federal Aviation Administration, and former Deputy Director, Regional Office of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), provides an in-depth review of the accident which occurred July 22, 2016. The goal of Mr Guzzetti’s investigation is to determine the root cause of the bridge strike.
Mr Guzzetti was called upon to utilize the forensics-style methodology employed by his former employer, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), with a high degree of professional integrity and impartiality in determining the causal events behind the accidents, and finding the parties with the most responsibility in the bridge strike.
Quoted from Mr Guzzetti’s report under probable cause:
“Based on my review of available material, I have determined that the probable cause of this accident is (1) the shipper’s improper loading of the excavator, and failure to prevent the departure of the truck in an over-height state. Factors contributing to the cause are (2) the lack of adequate training and protocols by Modern Machinery.”
The list of other parties that may have contributed to the accident listed in this report are, The State of Washington Department of Transportation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and ETON.
The shipper of the two excavators was the Modern Machinery company, a subsidiary of the Washington group of companies. Part of the material Mr Guzzetti used was the deposition of the Washington company employee, Mr Piles, where under sworn oath he testified that they had never been trained to curl the excavator’s bucket as required by the manufacturer for the transport of these excavators in question.
ETON is a Las Vegas-based premier transportation company serving the Western United States with equipment, professional drivers and superior on-time service.
The Washington Companies are a group of individual, privately held companies headquartered throughout the United States and western Canada and conducting business internationally, whose purpose is to reliably provide equipment, technology, service, and special expertise that aids customers to operate more efficiently and more profitably. Our affiliation gives us the ability to interconnect and combine resources and remain highly competitive. The individual success of each Company also empowers a strong sense of social responsibility, realized through corporate charitable activities and programs funded by the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.
Modern Machinery is part of this large consortium of privately held companies, collectively known as the Washington Companies, owned by billionaire Dennis R. Washington. Modern Machinery sells and rents high-quality heavy equipment and provides product support to the construction, mining, and forestry industries. The Modern Machinery terminal in Rochester, WA is home to a large staging area for a variety of Komatsu product brought from overseas awaiting shipment to other Komatsu dealers.
Komatsu America Corp. is a U.S. subsidiary of Komatsu Ltd. (OTCMKTS: KMTUY) the world’s second-largest manufacturer and supplier of earth-moving equipment, consisting of construction, mining and compact construction equipment.
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