As it is with almost any business that seeks to change an existing paradigm, the staff at WHECO spends a great deal of time working to correct the misconceptions that endure in the marketplace about structural crane repair. We continually strive to educate crane owners and companies that provide crane insurance that we talk to in an effort to advocate for change—an effort that we feel is greatly needed, especially when thought about in relationship to the crane industry’s antiquated mindset as it pertains to crane repair.
For over thirty-two years, WHECO has been performing structural repairs and restorations on cranes, crane components, and other heavy construction equipment. And throughout that time period, we’ve never had a failure, and have never been a defendant in a lawsuit. For over thirty-two years, we’ve put our name, reputation, and livelihood on the line in an effort to provide our value-added services to the crane and insurance industries that desperately need it.
But that statement inevitably begs the question: why does the crane industry need us? And perhaps more importantly, why does the crane insurance provider need us? We think the answer is simple. We’re the barometer. We’re the guys that balance out the equation and prove that crane accident, plus damaged crane, doesn’t have to equal crane or component replacement. Just because the manufacturer has internal policies that directs their customers to replace the damaged components on their cranes, doesn’t mean that having it repaired puts the owner, or the insurance company, in violation of any laws or regulations. Every engineered repair that WHECO performs comes with documentation that ensures that it meets all the standards and regulations set forth by OSHA, Cal-OSHA, ANSI, and AWS. Furthermore, just because a crane manufacturer cannot or does not want to be involved with providing structural repairs, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
What WHECO has learned over the last thirty-plus years is that the crane and crane insurance industry needs a stark wake-up call when it comes to deciding whether to repair or replace a damaged crane. We’re not saying that there’s never a time to replace a component—clearly there is—we’re just saying that the insurance company insuring the crane, and the crane owner, need to fully vet their options before making the decision. Removing camber and sweep from a damaged hydraulic boom is a lot less expensive than buying a new one. And when repairs can be done more cost effectively, the insurance company pays out less money—there’s a smaller figure on the crane owner’s loss run, and crane insurance rates don’t climb as high.
So, what about liability? What happens when the crane manufacturer throws the “black-listed crane” argument on the table? Well, we’re glad you asked. OSHA is often cited, yet frequently misunderstood when it comes to structural crane repairs and component replacement. And we feel that the crane manufacturers use those misunderstandings to their advantage. Nowhere in any standard anywhere does it say that a third-party facility like WHECO cannot perform a structural repair or component replacement. The OSHA standard does provide for repaired/adjusted equipment. It only requires that federal standards and requirements are met if a repair is performed—all of which WHECO meets or exceeds. In fact, we take this a step further, and warranty our work to such a high degree that it often times surpasses commercial and/or original manufactures’ standards.
Essentially, what WHECO offers the crane industry owners and crane insurers is this: benchmarking. WHECO provides engineered, warrantied solutions to the repair process that give common ground for owners, insurance companies, and crane manufacturers to stand on. We level the playing field by providing a state-of-the-art service that aligns the interests of the insurance company and the crane owner by introducing transparency to the process. And when everyone can see what’s going on by viewing the scenery from the same vantage point, the result, at the very least, is that an informed decision can be made.