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May 10, 2013
OSHA: Tragic crane accident could have been avoided

The death of a worker who was crushed by a crane could have been avoided if the employer had followed the manufacturer’s requirements for operating and maintaining the equipment. OSHA inspectors reached that conclusion after assessing the conditions that led to the incident at an equipment rental and repair company.

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Inspectors found that outriggers designed to stabilize the truck-mounted crane were not extended, which led the crane to tip. Another contributing factor was that the equipment had been out of service for more than 6 months and had not been thoroughly inspected before being used.

The employer also failed to properly tag keys for the crane as “Do Not Use.” Other issues at the facility included improperly secured compressed gas cylinders, equipment in poor operating condition, and machines that had not been properly guarded to prevent amputation or other injuries. OSHA cited the company with 13 serious violations, 2 other-than-serious violations, and $70,000 in proposed fines.

What’s the takeaway for you? Whether it’s a complex truck-mounted crane or a relatively simple hand tool, you must scrupulously read and follow operating instructions and train your employees in them.

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