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Medford-Everett Crane Collapse Being Investigated By OSHA

A crane collapsed yesterday along the Medford-Everett line, injuring the operator of the piece of machinery.  The accident occurred next to the Revere Beach Parkway were the Woods Memorial Bridge Project is currently underway.  Workers were cleaning up for the day when the crane become unbalanced and completely flipped over.  At the time, the crane was carrying 200 gallons of diesel fuel at the time, which began leaking.  Environmental groups were called to help clean up the fuel.  The operator suffered minor injuries, a broken arm and wrist, after he was trapped inside the crane when it fell.  Some of his coworkers used a torch to get him out before first responders arrived.  The operator works for Coastal Marine and was taken to Mass General Hospital but is expected to be OK.  Investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are back investigating the incident today.  This is a relatively lucky case compared to dozens of other crashes in which many have died.

Worksite crane accidents can occur easily if the proper safety precautions are not taken.  Cranes are vital to the manufacturing and construction industries as they lift and transport heavy materials that could otherwise not be moved.   If the machinery is properly installed and maintained, cranes can move materials quite safely and efficiently.  However, if operation and safety procedures are not followed when using cranes and other large machinery, the lives of workers and bystanders can be put at great risk.

There are three main hazards that construction workers and crane operators need to be vigilant of when working near cranes.  The first are electrical hazards.  OSHA reports that nearly 50 percent of overhead crane accidents result from the machines touching a power source during operation.  Power line contact, when a metal section of a crane inadvertently contacts a high-voltage power line, typically occurs when the crane is moving materials under or nearby a power line.  Every year, almost 200 people die from power line contact with about 600 being seriously injured.  Often, the victims are individuals who are guiding the load, but everyone present at a work site is also vulnerable to such risks.  Planning is the most important preventative measure to take.  It is especially important to appoint someone to be in charge of safety planning at worksites and to follow OSHA and ANSI guidelines about distance restrictions from power lines.  A second major hazard is overloading.  OSHA reports “80 percent of all crane upsets and structural failures can be attributed to exceeding the crane’s operational capacity.”  Overloading most often causes loads to drop or swing inadvertently and oftentimes occurs when under qualified personnel are allowed to operate cranes.  It is essential all workers who operate cranes on sites are properly trained and utilize load-measuring systems rather than relying on instinct and experience to determine if a crane can handle a load.  The third and final major hazard is the case of materials falling.  Aside from materials falling from overloading, loads can also fall if they are improperly secured.  Statistics show that almost 20 people died in 2012 from accidents involving overhead hoists.  These loads are often heavy and cause serious damage and injury if dropped.  To reduce the risk of falling materials, it is crucial to perform regular maintenance checks and to make sure all loads are completely secured.  Generally, all workers who interact with or around cranes and other heavy-duty machinery should be aware of safety procedures and be sure to follow regulations by OSHA and the manufacturers of the machinery.

If you have been injured as a result of a crane accident or as a result of a work injury, give one our our experienced Massachusetts workers compensation workers a call for a free case consultation. 617-492-3000.

 

Bookman, Kimberly. “Worker Injured after Crane Tips over on Medford-Everett Town Line.” Boston News Weather Sports WHDH 7News. N.p., 07 July 2016. Web. 08 July 2016.

“Overhead Crane Safety-Three Major Hazards and Preventative Measures.” Spancos RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 July 2016.

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