Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More Training Needed in Lift Operations

Training Lacking for Lift Operations

The article below
from the Argus Leader, written by Steve Young is a prime example of the need for training in lift operations, especially for Trained and Certified Lift Supervision, Trained and Certified Riggers and Trained and Certified Crane Operators.

The statement that the operator was not at fault and that South Dakota does not require Crane Operators to be Certified. This Training and Certifications WILL be required upon the final issue of the new OSHA Crane Standards in a little over a year.

Site of crane accident inspected

Victim a father of four from Doon, Iowa

Steve Young • syoung@argusleader.com • October 22, 2008

A compliance officer with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was in Sioux Falls on Tuesday to investigate a crane accident that killed a 51-year-old welder from Doon, Iowa.

Henry Wayne VandenTop died Monday afternoon at Sanford USD Medical Center after a large boom on a crane struck him and knocked him 25 feet off the wall where he was working. The accident occurred at the site of an elementary school being built near 53rd Street and Tea-Ellis Road, police said.

Minnehaha County coroner Dr. Brad Randall performed the autopsy and said VandenTop "died of blunt chest trauma."

Bruce Beelman, OSHA's area director in Bismarck, N.D., said he had an officer in Sioux Falls investigating the incident. That officer did a thorough walk-around and inspection to ensure the work environment remains safe, Beelman said, and investigated the particulars of the accident as well.

VandenTop worked for Hoogendoorn Construction in Canton. Police said the welder was on top of a wall working while the crane boom operated above him. Some of the supports for the crane began to sink into the ground, and the back end of the crane came off the ground, bringing the boom down to crush VandenTop and knocking him off the wall.

Paul Maassen, a minority owner of Hoogendoorn, said the crane and its supports were resting on layered wooden pads, and some of the supports "sank with the wooden pads; everything went into the ground."

Maassen said he didn't know what caused the supports to sink.

"There's nothing I can really speculate on at this time," he said. "We need to stay with the inspectors. They'll eventually give us how they think it happened."

Maassen did say, however, that he didn't think operator error was the cause.

"We had our inspectors, our safety guys, out to check everything," he said. "They didn't see anything out of the ordinary."

South Dakota does not require crane operators to be certified, said Dawn Dovre, public information officer for the state Department of Labor. It is one of 35 states that do not require such certification.

Beelman said his office has up to six months to complete the investigation, though "I would not want to provide a specific time period or date" for it to be finished. The agency has standards that companies have to meet when operating cranes, including taking appropriate precautions to ensure cranes are not operated on unstable surfaces, Beelman said.

Maassen said he thought the OSHA inspector finished his on-site work Tuesday.

If OSHA determines any serious safety violations were involved, it could cite Hoogendoorn and levy a fine ranging from $375 to $7,000, Beelman said.

In extreme cases, where OSHA determines that a company willfully disregard safety standards, the fine can go as high as $70,000, Beelman added.

This summer, Hoogendoorn was assessed a $1,500 penalty for not having an adequate guardrail system at a construction site in Brookings, Beelman said. That fine was reduced to $750 when the contractor agreed to correct the problem immediately and improve its safety and health programs through training and better monitoring.

VandenTop was married and has four children. Family members declined to comment Tuesday. Maassen said VandenTop had worked for his company for 14 years and was a friend who liked to fish and loved his family.

"Our guys are all close," Maassen said. "They're all friends together. This is hard for all our guys. They know each other really well."

Arrangements are pending with Porter Funeral Home in Rock Valley, Iowa.

Reach reporter Steve Young at 331-2306.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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The equipment in most of these accidents is the cause of the loss of life. Contractors must take necessary measure to inspect heavy equipment in much the same way as a pilot does a walk around of his aircraft before flight. A checklist should be used and standards for the inspection need to be developed. A walk around should be done before the day begins and before the equipment is stopped and started for any duration of time; lunch, pee break, all START and STOP actions should demand a walk around.

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