Cable Car Accident Avoidance Clc360 Approach Çiğdem Yorgancıoğlu

Cable Car Accident Avoidance CLC360 Approach Çiğdem Yorgancıoğlu

South Africa, Rio de Janeiro city of Brazil, Norway, Malaysia, Swiss Alps, including Dajti Mountain of Albania, journeyed on cable cars, visited 107 countries on 5 continents around the world, and also led many teams as an Occupational Health and Safety Class B expert (Accredited in Turkey and Abroad – Istanbul University Cerrahpaşa Faculty Continuous Education Center – CPD – Allison) and Corporate Risks Expert Cigdem Yorgancıoğlu, made some important statements regarding safety after the accident that occurred as a result of the cable car cabin falling in Antalya. In some of these statements, Yorgancıoğlu said:

“First of all, this is a fatal accident. With the base of the cabin struck by the detached cable car pole falling, 54-year-old lawyer Memiş Gümüş lost his life. My condolences to his family and loved ones. May our country rest in peace. I wish patience. There are also injuries, chronic patients. After the citizens trapped in the cable cars are rescued, they will also have traumas, no matter how you look at it, it’s extremely sad, my heart ached. I deeply share the pains of all parties affected by the accident.

Comprehensive operation and maintenance (O&M) management services aimed at preventing accidents, including creative scenario productions that offer durable solutions against time, are extremely important in the air, sea, and land. In the maritime sector, I am currently producing scenarios for CBT trainings on marine accidents, errors leading to accidents, or scenarios regarding the precautions to be taken before or after accidents, like black swan scenarios that are considered unlikely. I have already compiled a book on this subject, which is in the pre-publication editing stage. Can a cable car cabin detach from the bottom of a cable car? Of course, it can detach. This tragic accident reminded us very heavily of the value and importance of these scenarios as lessons to be learned.

I remember, a few years ago, there was talk of a wild bear entering the cable car station in Uludağ. We focus on safety issues, their quirky sides, I’ll tell about this on another day as a separate scenario. Because scenarios had formed in my mind regarding invisible accidents that could occur after the bear was removed. More serious types of damage than a mouse chewing on a cable and causing an electrical fire and so on. Scenarios are important, they should not be underestimated, especially considering that our country is in an earthquake zone and our pains are evident. Remember, we are not safe anywhere, at any facility, unless managed by teams who are experts, talented, resilient in terms of cognition and behavior, and who uphold ethical values, ensuring safe, consistent, and meticulous maintenance efforts.

Let’s get back to the subject; We often assume that all structures are designed by expert engineers/architects in the relevant professional disciplines. It is essential to review point by point, one by one, the safety measures of cable car lines falling under the category of electromechanical facilities subject to special rules in terms of operation and maintenance. It is important to conduct non-destructive testing. To thread the needle without poking the eye. It is indispensable to carry out regular and very rigorous multi-sided inspections and to perform maintenance and inspections in accordance with the safety standards of cable car/ski lift systems, which we assume are equipped with top-level safety systems, regularly and very strictly. I’m not just talking about annual periodic maintenance or just improving passenger comfort in cabins. It is essential for the facilities to be operated and maintained safely and appropriately that relevant operation, maintenance, and inspections according to the relevant TS standard are carried out in accordance with the period, with the finest engineering practices and principles, and by the experts in the field.

Improvements and maintenance in automation and electrical systems are extremely important. Operation and maintenance of cable transport facilities should be carried out and supervised by experts. By supervision, I also include independent auditing organizations.

Just a moment ago, in the beginning of my sentence, there was an expression “we assume,” and that critical word “ASSUMPTION” is one of the riskiest points. We cannot assume, nor can we neglect. The first rule for preventing risks in all areas of our lives should be this. Producing scenarios is also important to rid ourselves of operational blindness, unqualified, erroneous, careless, and negligent work. Therefore, I emphasize the importance of cognitive and behavioral risks in accident scenarios. And in this regard, I base all my CLC 360 Risk scenarios on this. This is as important as mechanical and electronic installations and components. The safe and proper use of installations is also a function of cognitive and behavioral factors.

For example, negligence or error in reporting to management in the form of a report for correcting an identified inadequacy during inspections is directly related to human behavior and cognitive aspects. Let me give you another example; this is more about operational management risk. Sometimes, when I see expressions like “Preferably knowledgeable in basic Electrical-Electronic” in the qualifications section of serious institutions’ Cable Car Maintenance Operator job postings, my brain goes haywire over the word “preferably.” How can it be preferably? This is far from a holistic approach. Thinking about the possibility that someone who does brake maintenance may not know about electricity is enough to set off alarms. Let’s move on; think about an operator of a single-cable technology, one-way moving Air Elevator, where the cable always moves in the same direction at a constant speed. It is operated by an electric motor and the same cable serves the functions of transportation and support. Do you think the weight of vehicles and passengers is insignificant? Let’s continue, think about a single-cable technology, one-way moving Air Elevator again, where the cable always moves in the same direction at a constant speed, it is operated by an electric motor again, and the same cable serves the functions of transportation and support. There are detachable enclosed cabins or gondolas. They are connected to the cable through a coupling mechanism that disconnects from and reconnects to the cable when leaving and entering the station. Thanks to this feature, regardless of the speed of the cabins on the route, the speed of the cabins at the stations can be reduced to facilitate boarding and disembarkation of passengers. Now, think about its operator, could there be a thought like they preferably know about electricity? So, the essence of this is: Even if they don’t understand electricity or electronics, it’s okay.

I was on the top of Mt. Blanc in the Swiss Alps one day. I was with a group of 30 people. While inside the cable car, along with the panoramic excitement of travel adrenaline accompanied by the scenery it took to the back with its pulley systems, my eyes were drifting off for a moment, and one of the questions that stuck in my mind at a fraction of a second was this: If the wind speed increases, at what speed in km/h does the system automatically start warning the operators both audibly and visually on screens to take extra precautions, and how would evacuation be done if necessary at any moment. I wondered if everything about the cable car I boarded, from its steel cables, hydraulic systems, motor assemblies, to its vertical and horizontal pulleys, was flawless.

The questions are plentiful. These affairs are governed by a talented mind and heart. Engineers, operators, managers who possess such minds are the ones who ensure the smooth functioning, the beating heart, of operations and are responsible for it. Institutions like the Chamber of Mechanical Engineers should be valued. They should each have extensive knowledge not only in their own fields but also in related areas, and their training should be updated and comprehensive. Even though education that hasn’t been renewed in its physical form isn’t completely worthless, it’s inadequate and out of touch with the realities of the day. It’s essential for teams taking on significant maintenance responsibilities to develop deep expertise. There’s no joking around in this matter. Their familiarity with the complexities of facilities is crucial for the precise and careful execution of every task. Learning from mistakes and thinking about how to avoid repeating them, and reflecting this in thought and behavior, is equally important.

Not avoiding procrastination can also lead to neglect. It’s possible to effectively prevent accidents, mistakes, malfunctions, or downtime with proactive measures. Moreover, this behavior significantly reduces or increases repair costs. Whether to procrastinate or not is in our hands! Human errors and the subsequent almosts or accidents depend on a slip-up or negligence.

This accident reminded us that it shouldn’t be lived through with memorizations, assumptions, ignorance, lack of curiosity, or recklessness. A comprehensive publication and an eye-opening Chi Lange challenge CLC 360 RISK EducAction brief are being prepared for this matter, and they will also be evaluated with participant impressions. After the rescues are completed, let’s release the preliminary report, and then I can delve into more detail.

It is currently April 13, 2024, and it is 3:59 PM. There is only 1 person left to be rescued. Get well soon again. Hoping it won’t happen again.

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and Risk expert Çiğdem Yorgancıoğlu’s remarks and words between the lines following the completion of the rescue and the announcement of the preliminary report are as follows;

We must correctly order our narrative of the cause and effect of this terrible incident. Complex narratives in the press can be confusing, and I must mention that.

The sequence and perception of the incident are as follows: One of the iron poles carrying the Sarısu-Tünektepe cable car line, which has been in operation since 2017 under the Tünektepe Cable Car and Social Facilities located in the Konyaaltı district of Antalya, broke at the connection point of the pole due to corroded connection elements and damaged pulley systems on the supporting poles. As a result of the pole collapsing, the broken base struck one cabin of the moving cable car, causing it to fall into the rocky area on the mountainside, resulting in the fall of the 8 people inside. In this disaster, 1 person lost their life while 7 others were injured. This is the shortest explanation possible.

Are the causes of this incident limited only to corrosion, pulley problems, and jammed connection elements? Are there human errors, cognitive and behavioral mistakes, negligence? It should be noted that the CLC 360 approach is crucial here. It’s necessary to read between the lines with a comprehensive approach. Being stranded for hours in the heights of the mountain is a major trauma in human life. The Eid holiday is spent in constant fear. How many people were poisoned in the air? What will happen to the psychology of the fainting children? Is moving to the summit so costly in terms of human life?

The 23-hour long aerial rescue operation of the stranded citizens ended with the successful rescue of 174 people in 24 cabins. Even the approach maneuvers brought hearts to mouths. Those who know me know I’m passionate about dance, and they know I made a special promise. I couldn’t even move from home until the rescue was completed.

While AFAD and the fire brigade teams affiliated with the Antalya Metropolitan Municipality continued rescue operations, the Coast Guard helicopter also evacuated the people stranded in the cabin. The Gendarmerie helicopter with night flight capabilities was also on duty. The efforts of the police, gendarmerie, Ministry of National Defense, General Directorate of Forestry, Ministry of Family and Social Services, 112 Emergency Health Service, UMKE (National Medical Rescue Team), Turkish Red Crescent, NGOs, military cargo aircraft, ambulances, drones, all mobilized collectively. When looking at the expert report after the incident, it is utterly irrational to see that the cable car operator did not have an emergency action and evacuation plan. This is unacceptable. Any excuse is far from reason and common sense. The ultimate goal is simply this: to ensure safe and healthy public transportation from point A to point B.

Although maintenance of poles and lines, problems with connection elements, bolt problems, and the lack of comprehensive maintenance beyond routine checks seem to be one of the leading issues, accidents are actually domino effects. Similarly, the causes can be based on multiple root causes. There is not just one cause. Even the timely replacement of the rubber on the large wheels that simultaneously rotate the rope can have unwanted consequences when not done in time. Consider the effects of not properly conducting vibration analysis on all of this. Those who watched the rescue like me saw the challenging meteorological conditions and the wind.

The report stating that the accident was caused by the breaking of corroded bolts, despite the maintenance contract including the inspection of connection elements, is an unforgivable situation. To avoid evaluation errors, this issue must be pursued.

In the maintenance of the facility where the accident occurred, various inspection criteria exist alongside the replacement of pulleys, axles, and rubbers on poles, such as reinforcement adjustments, cabin connection clamps, and hydraulic maintenance of tensioning systems. All must be thorough. This is not a subject to be discussed with excuses and apologies, whether they have occurred or not. Maintenance and repairs of the Drive-Turn-Shift Wheel without damage, maintenance and inspections of the signaling and communication infrastructure of the line, timely repair of damaged areas of the haulage rope if any, are important. Let’s not forget that if the cable or rope length is excessively long, it means swing, which means exposure to swing effects.

Similarly, reviewing the cabin clamping system, maintenance of the lower and upper stations of the cable car, inspection of moving and mechanical parts of the cable car, post-maintenance inspections, and timely renewals when needed are also important. There are many details, requiring informed decision-making and process optimization.

The main drive system filters, oil changes, speedometers, wind gauges, brake system component replacements are another dimension. They have a methodology and should be managed with an open and transparent management approach.

Approaching with the CLC 360 RISK methodology is important because we need to read between the lines very well at every point; if we cannot read these, we cannot make contextual analysis. We cannot grasp the importance of precautions enough. For example, after the accident, efforts were made to rescue those trapped in the cabins on the cable car line. But what if the cable car cannot be stopped after the accident? Or when we talk about teams working tirelessly, what do the lines between say? Time is of the essence; rescue and evacuation must happen as soon as possible. There is no luxury of waiting!

While Civil Inspectors were assigned regarding the incident, Minister of Justice Yılmaz Tunç announced that a criminal investigation was initiated by the Antalya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, and detention warrants were issued for 13 suspects, including employees and officials of the company operating the cable car line and the company responsible for its maintenance and repair. We will all watch together what steps will be taken to prevent such accidents in the future and what lessons will be learned from them.

Get well soon again. There is something each of us can do and a perspective to take to prevent it from happening again. That’s the reason why I’m saying these words in the first place.


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