Electrical workers killed by crane tip-over; OSHA cites employer
By Alyssa Dalton
September 25, 2014 – An inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has found that the deaths of two workers in a crane tip-over could have been prevented if the employer, Massachusetts Bay Electrical Corp., had set up and operated the crane according to the manufacturer’s instructions and trained employees in its proper operation.
The incident occurred on April 12, 2014, when the employees were working from a raised personnel platform attached to an Elliott 40142 truck-mounted crane. They were working on power lines on the mainland side of the Cape Cod Canal, when the crane overturned and fell more than 150 ft to the ground.
“These deaths were preventable,” said Brenda Gordon, OSHA’s area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. “The employer did not refer to or use readily available and necessary information that would have allowed this work to be conducted safely. This lapse placed two workers in harm’s way and needlessly cost them their lives.”
OSHA found that company employees were not properly trained or evaluated on the Elliott 40142 truck-mounted crane prior to use. Supervisors at the jobsite did not follow procedures for setting up and operating the crane in accordance with the crane’s safety manual, even though the manual was in the crane and at the jobsite. They also did not conduct proper prelift planning and other required tests to ensure that the lift could be done safely.
The company was, therefore, cited for two willful violations of workplace safety standards, as well as four serious violations, including not using load charts to determine the crane’s minimum boom angle, not using an aerial lift, allowing the crane to operate at greater than 50% of the rated capacity for its configuration and for failing to conduct a trial lift of the personnel platform prior to use. The citations carry proposed penalties of $168,000 US.