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April 29, 2024
Florida contractors cited in fatal crane accident

Two Florida contractors, Adcock Cranes Inc. of Plant City and Tampa-based Concrete Impressions of Florida Inc., are facing Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) citations and fines after an aerial lift operator suffered fatal injuries from being struck by a boom as a crane tipped over during work on an Orlando highway ramp.

A Concrete Impressions operator was working in an aerial lift as a 10,700-pound panel was being lifted into place by an Adcock Cranes employee. During the process, an outrigger gave way and tipped the mobile 110 Liebherr crane toward a slope, which struck the employee on a lift in the crane’s swing radius.

The agency cited Adcock Cranes with one serious violation, proposing $16,131 in penalties, for not ensuring the ground conditions were adequate to support the crane while lifting sound barrier panels. OSHA cited Concrete Impressions of Florida with one serious violation for allowing workers to take apart and use extension ladders to reach sound barrier panels and one other-than-serious violation for the contractor’s failure to document the required 12-month record of the inspections of a chain used to lift sound barrier panels, proposing $4,839 in penalties.

“The death of any worker is a terrible loss that leaves their family, friends, and co-workers devastated,” Erin Sanchez, OSHA’s Orlando, Florida, area office director, said in an agency statement. “Their pain only worsened when learning the tragedy could have been prevented.”

“Our investigation found Concrete Impressions and Adcock Cranes failed in their responsibilities to provide employees with a safe work environment.”

Concrete Impressions of Florida Inc. has manufactured sound barrier walls since 1988, operating manufacturing plants in DeLand, Lakeland, Pompano Beach, and Tampa, according to OSHA. The company began offering wall systems installations as a subcontractor in 2003.

Adcock Cranes, founded in 2015, provides crane-for-hire services for construction projects.

NSC report details crane industry safety risks

On April 4, the National Safety Council (NSC) announced the release of a new report, “Understanding the Current State of Safety Hazards in the Crane Industry,” as part of its Work to Zero initiative. The report details lift-specific risks and best practices employers can adopt to keep workers safe, according to the NSC.

Cranes are especially dangerous if proper protocols aren’t followed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reported 297 crane-related deaths between 2011 and 2017.

Research found in the CFOI shows more than half of workplace deaths that occur in the crane industry involve workers being struck by objects or equipment; an additional 27% of fatalities occur as a result of falls and transportation incidents, according to the NSC. To produce the report, the NSC partnered with the NCCCO Foundation to survey certified crane operators and inspectors to identify the most common hazards in the industry and top risk factors and discover technology solutions to eliminate or minimize injuries.

Notable findings in the report include:

  • Top hazardous situations include working at height, vehicle-pedestrian interactions, and loading and unloading materials.
  • Heat stress and fatigue are common systemic risks contributing to workplace injuries in the crane industry.
  • Falls from height and being struck by a falling object are the two most common causes of injuries.

The NSC and NCCCO Foundation plan to continue their work to provide additional resources to educate crane operators, inspectors, and employers about potential workplace hazards and technology solutions that can help minimize risks.

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