Thursday, January 29, 2009

Crane Investigation

OSHA Completes Investigation of Crane Incident

In the article below from "Injury" by Beth Janicek, she reports that it has been deemed that the cause of the collapse of the crane in Houston last year likely was the fact that the Crane Operator was not adequately trained and that the Supervisor
, also was not trained sufficiently.

In several of my previous posts and in the new OSHA standard on cranes I have stated that not only should the Operator should be certified in the operation of the particular crane that he/she is operating, but there should be a certified Lift Supervisor and certified Riggers present for any lift a crane performs. Much of this is in the new standards.

It is hard to fathom that anyone working with this crane preparing to work in that site could not see that the boom was getting too high to prevent back flipping. ALL construction workers should be aware of all operations surrounding their work area. This is just plain Horse Sense to be aware of activities in their work area, especially huge cranes' boom being hoisted.

Louisiana Crane Company Fined Over Safety Violations After Four Employee Deaths

January 28, 2009 - 01:46 PM

The U.S. government wants to fine Deep South Crane and Rigging due to a crane accident that killed four employees in Houston, Texas. After an investigation that began July 18, OSHA announced that it has issued citations alleging eight violations, six of which are considered serious. These eight violations carry $71,500 in penalties, and the Louisiana based company has 15 business days to either comply, request a conference with OSHA or contest the citations and penalties.

According to a statement released by OSHA, the crane overhauled when the boom reached an unsafe angle, causing the crane to collapse backward striking workers. Mark Briggs, OSHA’s area director for its Houston South Area Office stated that the crane operator was inadequately trained, and the project superintendent did not ensure that the crane did not reach hazardous conditions. This accident is very unfortunate, because if OSHA’s regulations and industry standards had been followed, this tragedy could have been prevented.

OSHA has since responded to the many highly publicized accidents by implementing a Regional Emphasis Program on Crane Safety Standards. Under this program, construction sites are subject to inspection with regards to:

  • Being stuck by objects
  • Electrocution
  • Crane tip-over
  • Being caught in or between machinery
  • Falls

According to Regional Administrator Dean McDaniel, “Past inspection evidence indicates these hazards are the leading causes of accidents where cranes are used in the construction industry. This Regional Emphasis Program (REP) was established as an enforcement initiative for the inspection of cranes used in construction, with the goal of preventing serious and fatal injuries to employees working on and around cranes.” The Regional Emphasis Program applies to construction sites in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and select sites in New Mexico, and require that cranes be inspected prior to each and every use. A complete list of the General Crane Safety requirements (29 C.F.R. 1926.550) can be found here.

Hopefully, these requirements will help restore safety to construction sites, as well as reduce the risk of tragedies, such as this one, from occurring.

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