James F. Lomma, the 66-year-old owner of New York Crane and Equipment Corporation, has been acquitted of second-degree manslaughter and three other charges with regard to a Manhattan tower crane collapse that killed two construction workers.Read More
A crane operator somehow survived a 300 foot (91 meter) fall from the top of a 33-story building in China, suffering only broken bones. Two of her co-workers weren’t as fortunate.
The surviving worker, a woman who was not named, was rescued from the twisted crane cab by firefighters in Leshan, Sichuan province. It took them 30 minutes to free her.
The crane tilted while construction workers were trying to raise its height. Its cab then snapped off, plunging the operator to the ground. Of four other workers on the crane at the time, two died, while two others were able to climb down the mast to safety.Read More
Imagine being trapped in an overturned crane cab with a piece of rebar impaling your body. It happened to a retired crane operator who was volunteering his time to build a new Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall in Victoria, BC, Canada.
The crane was moving down a dirt ramp when it overturned in an excavation. The victim, Mike Doval, was trapped in the crane cab for more than an hour while Victoria firefighters struggled to free him. The piece of rebar had punctured his left side in his kidney area.
He was taken to hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to remove the piece of metal. WorkSafe BC says that while Doval was certified to operate a crane, he was not doing so as an employee, but rather as a volunteer, so he will not qualify for WCB coverage.Read More
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule addressing the use of cranes and derricks in construction, which updates nearly 40-year-old standards.
OSHA says stakeholders from the construction industry recognized the need to update the safety requirements, methods and practices for cranes and derricks and to incorporate technological advances in order to better protect people workers on and around cranes and derricks.
“The significant number of fatalities associated with the use of cranes in construction led the Labor Department to undertake this rulemaking,” says Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. “After years of extensive research, consultation and negotiation with industry experts, this long overdue rule will address the leading causes of fatalities related to cranes and derricks, including electrocution, boom collapse and overturning.”
OSHA head Dr. David Michaels says the rule addresses critically important provisions for crane operator certification and crane inspection, setup and disassembly, adding, “Compliance with the rule will prevent needless worker injuries and deaths and provide protection for the public and property owners.”
The new rule, replacing one dating to 1971, is designed to preventing the leading causes of fatalities, including electrocution and crushed by/struck by hazards during assembly, disassembly, collapse and overturn.
It also sets requirements for ground conditions and crane operator assessment, along with addressing tower crane hazards and the use of synthetic slings for assembly/disassembly work. The final rule clarifies the scope of the regulation by providing both a functional description and a list of examples for the equipment that is covered.
Info to go: To view the OSHA crane and derrick regulation text, click on the Info to Go safety links at www.SafeSupervisor.comRead More
Masonry Contractor Issued $61,600 in Proposed Fines after worker falls 30 feet. A worker fell while climbing a scaffold at a jobsite in Brookline, MA. OSHA investigated and cited the company for willful failure to provide a ladder or other safe means of accessing a scaffold’s upper levels and failure to supply workers with fall protection while working on the scaffold. Serious citations were also issued for failure to fully plank a scaffold and for locating a scaffold less than 18 inches away from energized, non-insulated power lines. [Misdea Enterprises LLC, Weymouth, MA, May 26, 2010].
Seafood Plant Issued $214,500 in Proposed Fines for alleged willful and serious violations. OSHA conducted an inspection and issued willful citations alleging failure to properly inspect and test an anhydrous ammonia piping system used for freezing and for failure to correct previously identified deficiencies. OSHA alleges the system was corroded and encased in ice. Nine serious violations also cited include alleged failure to label and identify piping systems, remove frost and ice accumulations from piping, properly locate relief valves, ensure that the main ammonia shutoff valve was accessible, ensure that an exit door opened to the outside, conduct compliance audits, inspect and test the mechanical integrity of process equipment, provide workers with hand protection and make process safety information available. One repeat citation was also issued for not properly calibrating equipment used to inspect and test compressors and cryolators. [High Liner Foods Inc., Portsmouth, NH, June 1, 2010].
Ford Cited for not Repairing or Removing Damaged Overhead Cranes at Buffalo Stamping Plant. A willful citation was issued after OSHA conducted an inspection in response to a complaint from workers. OSHA says it found five instances where overhead cranes used to lift and set dies or lift coils of steel were allowed to remain in service after defects were identified in earlier inspections. The defects included worn brake drums, loose or sheared coupling bolts and worn or damaged gears. A proposed fine of $70,000 has been issued. [Ford Motor Co. Buffalo Stamping Plant, Hamburg, NY, June 22, 2010].
Proposed Fines of More Than $357,000 Issued against a pharmaceutical manufacturer. OSHA conducted an inspection and issued six willful citations for issues that allege excessive worker exposure to methylene chloride, failure to have effective controls and work practices to reduce those exposure levels, failure to supply workers with appropriate respirators and failure to provide all required monitoring, medical surveillance and information about methylene chloride. Exposure to methylene chloride has been linked to increased risk for cancer, heart problems, central nervous system and liver problems and skin or eye irritation. Three serious citations were also issued for alleged failure to determine each employee’s exposure to methylene chloride, failure to develop and inspect hazardous energy control procedures for all equipment and failure to inform employees of the existence, location and availability of exposure and monitoring records. [UCB Manufacturing Inc., Rochester, NY, June 18, 2010].
Manufacturer Cited for Allegedly Exposing Workers to Chemical Hazards facing $88,500 in proposed fines. OSHA initiated an inspection on Nov. 24, 2009, in response to a complaint about a chlorine release at the facility. The company has been cited for alleged deficiencies in its process safety management system, including failure to establish and implement written procedures required to manage any changes to technology, facilities, equipment and procedures that can potentially impact a chemical process. [Infineum USA L.P., Linden, NJ, June 1, 2010].
Partial Building Collapse Brings Citations to Brooklyn contractor. During the installation of precast concrete stairs on the third floor of a six-story residential building under construction, a collapse of several planks and stairs occurred. OSHA says it found that the structural steel I-beam supporting the planks and stairs had not been bolted in and welded as required to provide stability. Furthermore, employees who removed damaged concrete planks from the stairwell were exposed to falls of 40 feet because of a lack of fall protection. Two willful citations were issued. Also, workers had not been trained to recognize fall hazards and in the correct use of fall protection equipment, defective rigging equipment had not been removed from service and the jobsite lacked a program for frequent and regular inspections to identify hazards. Three serious citations were therefore issued. Proposed fines total $125,800. [New York Plank Services LLC, Brooklyn, NY, June 1, 2010].
US Postal Service Issued Almost $500,000 in Fines for alleged electrical hazards at two facilities. OSHA says it inspected the Network Distribution Center (NDC) and the Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC), both in Philadelphia, and found inadequately trained workers performing work without proper personal protective equipment while being exposed to live electrical parts. Four willful citations carrying proposed penalties totaling $280,000 were issued to the NDC and three willful citations and one serious citation carrying $210,000 in proposed fines were issued to the P&DC. [US Postal Service, Philadelphia, PA, June 8, 2010.]
Company Cited for Willful and Serious Safety and Health Violations issued $200,900 in proposed fines. OSHA opened an inspection after receiving a complaint in December 2009. Scuba Clean Inc. has been cited with three willful safety violations for alleged hazards associated with divers not being trained, divers not being accompanied by another diver with continuous visual contact and using air hoses not rated for diving. The company also has been cited for 16 serious safety and health violations, most of them related to “hookah,” a method of diving that uses a surface air supply to deliver air rather than a scuba tank. The employer failed to provide equipment needed to safely perform “hookah” dive operations, to secure compressed air cylinders, and to develop and maintain a written chemical hazard communication program. Violations also include alleged deficiencies relating to the storage of chlorine with other flammable and combustible liquids. [Scuba Clean Inc., St. Petersburg, FL, June 10, 2010].
Massive Fine Issued to Company for Alleged Willful Failure to Protect Workers from toxic vapor exposures. OSHA opened an investigation after two workers died and two others were severely burned in an explosion and fire at a shipbuilding company. The incident occurred in the inner bottom void of a tugboat under construction. The company was cited for 17 willful and 11 serious violations. The willful citations allege failure to inspect and test a confined space prior to entry, failure to prevent entry into confined spaces where concentrations of flammable vapors exceed prescribed limits, and failure to use explosion-proof lighting in a hazardous location. Serious violations issued allege a lack of machine guarding, allowing the use of defective electrical equipment, failure to use approved containers for disposing of flammable liquids, no rescue service for a confined space entry, failure to properly ventilate a confined space and missing or incomplete guardrails. Proposed penalties total $1,322,000. [VT Halter Marine Inc., Escatawpa, MS, May 19, 2010}.
Road Construction Company Cited by OSHA for alleged willful safety violation. OSHA says the company violated OSHA standards when it posted a reduced speed limit sign for a lane closure, yet failed to remove or cover the existing speed limit sign on Interstate 75. As a result, OSHA says company workers were placed in danger. The company was issued $63,000 in proposed fines. [The De Moya Group Inc., Miami, FL, May 24, 2010].
US Postal Service Issued $77,500 in Proposed Fines for alleged electrical and lockout hazards. An OSHA inspection conducted in response to employee complaints resulted in a willful citation for allowing workers to perform tests and work on live electrical equipment without adequate PPE and without safety-related work practices and warning signs. Two serious citations allege failure to adequately lock out machines’ power sources to prevent unexpected startup during servicing and for inadequate insulation on electrical cables. [US Postal Service’s Mail Processing Facility in Portland, OR, June 21, 2010].
Crystal Manufacturer Issued $510,000 in Proposed Fines after truck driver dies in blast. OSHA has cited NDK Crystals Inc. for egregious willful and serious violations of federal workplace safety standards following an explosion at the company’s crystal manufacturing building. The incident claimed the life of a truck driver parked at a nearby service station. OSHA says the employer knowingly operated high pressure vessels even after being warned of the potential for a catastrophic failure due to material design and fabrication defects. Seven willful citations were issued for alleged safety problems with seven individual high-pressure vessels. The serious citations allege failure to evaluate the building for a catastrophic event, failure to have an emergency evacuation program, failure to implement a hazard communication program and for a lack of PPE assessment and training certification. [NDK Crystals Inc., Belvedere, IL, May 27, 2010].
Foundry Issued $201,500 in Proposed Penalties for allegedly exposing workers to hazards. OSHA opened an investigation after a worker sustained a crushing injury requiring a lower arm amputation. OSHA cited the company for 25 serious and three repeat safety violations, including failure to provide adequate PPE to employees, failure to provide proper eye protection to employees working with a sulfur dioxide tank, a lack of emergency escape respirators, a lack of proper guarding on power band saws, blocked exit doors, failure to provide safety latches on crane hooks and failure to provide fall protection. Serious citations were also issued for the company’s alleged failure to provide proper respiratory protection and engineering controls for dust containing silica, failure to ensure workers used proper hearing protection and a lack of proper labeling on hazardous material storage containers. [Elyria Foundry Co. LLC, Elyria, OH, May 20, 2010].
Texas Shipbuilding Company Cited for alleged serious and repeat violations. OSHA opened an investigation on April 27, 2010 and found structural deficiencies on a crawler crane and electrical hazards throughout the shipyard. Nineteen serious citations were issued for alleged hazards including failure to provide workers with fall protection, guards on grinders, covers over open manholes in decks and fire extinguishers in areas where flammable paints and solvents were being used. A repeat violation for failure to provide employees operating crawler cranes with load rating charts was also cited. Total penalties of $59,300 are being proposed. [Sneed Shipbuilding Inc., Channelview, TX, June 22, 2010].
Beef Company Cited for Process Safety Management Shortcomings issued $130,000 in proposed penalties. OSHA alleges 20 alleged serious violations and one alleged repeat violation. Serious violations primarily stem from hazardous deficiencies in the company’s process safety management of its ammonia refrigeration system. Violations allege a lack of worker participation and training of system operators, inadequate process hazard analyses of hazardous consequences and system controls and inadequate refrigeration system emergency procedures to respond to a catastrophic ammonia release. Other alleged serious violations include inadequate refrigeration system emergency procedures to respond to a catastrophic release and evacuate all plant workers and inadequate mechanical integrity throughout the refrigeration system to prevent equipment malfunctions. The repeat violation stems from a failure to provide machine guarding to protect employees from amputation hazards created by rotating and moving parts of a saw. In addition, machine guarding was not adequate for dumpers or packing machines .[Creekstone Farms Premium Beef LLC, Arkansas City, KS, June 17, 2010].
Alfalfa Company Cited for Willful and Serious Violations following inspection. OSHA has issued $293,000 in proposed fines after citing seven alleged willful, 16 alleged serious violations and three alleged other-than-serious violations. The willful violations allege the company’s failure to provide fall protection on open-sided platforms, operation of augers while employees worked within the grain bin, failure to test the atmosphere prior to grain bin entry, instructing employees to walk down the grain, lack of a retrieval system for grain bin entries, lack of an attendant during bin entry operations and fugitive grain dust that exceeded one-eighth inch depth. Serious violations allege deficient guardrail systems, unapproved powered industrial truck modifications, a lack of inspections on mechanical and safety control equipment, energized electrical wiring left exposed, in disrepair or inappropriately used, a lack of/or deficient machine guarding and failure to label hazardous chemical containers. [Loup Valley Alfalfa Inc., Burwell, NE, June 15, 2010].Read More
The former chief crane inspector for New York City has been sentenced to between two and six years’ imprisonment after being convicted of taking more than $10,000 in payoffs.
James Delayo, 61, pleaded guilty to taking bribes in exchange for faking “results” for safety inspections that were never performed and for certifying that workers had passed crane operator tests that were never administered.
Delayo was charged during a crackdown on corruption in the construction industry that was initiated after nine people were killed in two crane collapses.Read More
An Ontario company that installs and maintains heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) units has been jolted with a $65,000 fine after a worker lost consciousness and collapsed from an electrical shock.
Two workers were using a crane to remove an HVAC unit from the roof of a Toronto business on May 26, 2008. They had been told by a site supervisor that power to the HVAC unit had been disconnected.
When the workers began lifting the unit with the crane, someone noticed that the power cable was still attached to it. Believing that the cable was de-energized, one of the workers used sheet metal cutters to cut it. That worker suffered a serious electrical shock.
Nelco Mechanical Ltd. of Kitchener, ON, pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice to a charge of failing to ensure that the power supply to an HVAC unit was disconnected, locked out of service and tagged before and while any work was performed on it. In addition to the fine, the company must pay a $16,250 victim fine surcharge.
Info to go: Read more about electrical safety by clicking on the Info to Go safety links at www.SafeSupervisor.comRead More
It’s been more than two years since a Canadian company has been convicted of criminal negligence charges in connection with a workplace fatality, but anyone who thinks C-45 charges are a thing of the past should think again.
Criminal charges under C-45 amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada have been laid following the death of a Sault Ste. Marie, ON, public works employee in that city in April 2009. James Vecchio, a married father of two young children, was working on a sewage project at the city landfill when a mobile crane fell into the excavation, fatally crushing him.
Criminal negligence causing death charges have been leveled against crane operator Anthony Vanderloo, crane owner David Brian Selvers and Millennium Crane Rental of Sault Ste. Marie. Millennium Crane Rental has also been charged under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. One charge alleges failure to ensure that a crane operator was properly trained.
Other charges are said to relate to the proper maintenance, operation and use of a crane. The last C-45 conviction involved Transpavé Inc., a St- Eustache, QC, patio block manufacturer. In December 2007, the company pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal negligence causing death and was fined $100,000. Worker Steve L’Ecuyer was crushed by a machine whose light curtain safety system, designed to prevent such injuries, had been deactivated.Read More
A 58-year-old crane operator who died when another crane he was dismantling crashed down on his crane had earlier expressed concerns about safety at the site to family members.
Anthony F. Roberts died at the Talleyrand Marine Terminal in Jacksonville, FL. He had reportedly told his family that he was uneasy about working there because the job was being rushed and he felt unsafe.
Roberts had said the crane he was operating was “shaky” and struggled with handling heavy loads.
Christopher Cason, who is engaged to Roberts’ daughter, described him as a giving man who had been awarded a certificate of appreciation for helping with recovery efforts after a six-story parking garage collapsed in 2007. One person died and about two dozen others were injured in that incident.Read More
A shortage of crane operators and mechanics is being eyed as a possible contributing factor in a crane fatality in Bellevue, WA. A 210-foot (64-meter) tall tower crane flipped over and crashed into an apartment building, killing a resident.
Amazingly, the crane’s operator, who rode the crane down, survived. Firefighters had to rescue him from the crane’s control cab, resting about 30 feet (almost 10 meters) above the ground. Reportedly he was able to walk away from the scene, with minor injuries.
The toppling crane damaged three buildings, including a large restaurant full of diners. A Bellevue fire department spokesman said the crane operator told firefighters he heard a noise before the crane fell at a high-rise construction site.
Following the incident the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries advised all owners and employers using tower cranes to perform a structural inspection of their cranes. They were asked to visually inspect tower bases and towers for cracks, cracked welds, stress fractures, chipped or flaking paint, rust spots and loose bolts.
A Seattle Post-Intelligencer report into the incident stated that tower cranes are in such hot demand that there’s a shortage of workers to operate and service them. Further, the newspaper alleged that the state is lax in its oversight of crane operation. It noted that crane operators need not be licensed and cranes are not routinely inspected by the state’s safety agency to ensure they have been installed properly.
Info to go: For more information on crane safety click on the link at www.SafeSupervisor.com