The recent ski lift incident in Gudauri, Georgia has certainly gotten plenty of air time and I am sure you have seen various posts about this unfortunate incident. It is remarkable that the injuries that did occur were not more serious and that there were no fatalities.
For those requiring a refresher on what happen, here is a video and article from the day of the incident, http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/nation-world/article205612529.html.
My purpose for writing about this is to capitalize on the need for training of lift operators and the need for top shelf maintenance. Here is the official explanation of the incident, http://agenda.ge/news/97928/eng. I’ll be the first to admit I have some questions on the explanation, but certainly there was human fault. I do not pretend to be qualified to offer any expert input on the subject. However, to put things in sequence, a voltage drop could cause the lift to stop and maybe failure of the brake systems, allowing the roll back, but if that is what happened, the statement saying the diesel generator should have been activated does not make sense, to me. Any comments?
My assumptions are that by diesel generator it is meant the evac motor and that the voltage drop caused all systems to fail so engagement of the rollback brake system controls failed and gravity caused the lift to go in reverse with a load on the line. The one failure not understood is the non-manual actuation of the emergency brake by the attendant. This is hard to understand, albeit part of the challenge is the translation to English.
The resignations by management are something to take note of as well as the steps taken by the government to require certifications to be issued to staff by the outside trainers, presumably Dopplemayr.
The takes away for us in North America are the training failure of the lift operator and the full evaluation and review of this incident by the maintenance department to understand the exposure of each lift on your hill to voltage fluctuations, small and large. We all know voltage variations happen. I have seen it and I am sure most readers of this post have. Having an understanding of the consequences of voltage variations is important for all in the maintenance and operations departments to know the potential impacts. This isn’t the only incident we have seen in current times.
Being prepared is the lesson we can take away. Take the opportunity to have the discussion and review the steps you need to take to address such a potential unexpected event.