Articles Posted in Crane Safety

The US Department of Labor and Mass Bay Electrical Corporation have reached a settlement agreement in a case involving the deaths of two Mass Bay employees in 2014. John Loughran and Joseph Boyd III were working on a platform that was raised on a crane when the crane toppled, killing both men. The MA electrical contractor was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for multiple violations, including improper employee training. Contact a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today.

Beyond compensating the victims’ families for their losses, the settlement seeks to prevent future injuries and fatalities by implementing corrective action and setting up a training fund in memory of the victims. In addition to improper employee training, OSHA also cited Mass Bay for failing to adhere to the crane manufacturer’s safety procedures. “The deaths of Joseph Boyd III and John Loughran should never have occurred. Effective and ongoing training of employees and adherence to the clear safety requirements set forth by the equipment’s manufacturer are critical in preventing fatalities like these from happening again. This settlement requires Mass Bay Electrical Corp. to take stringent, detailed, continual and effective corrective action,” said the New England Regional administrator for OSHA, Kim Stille.

Settlement Establishes Scholarship Fund in Victims’ Names

The settlement provides court-enforced rules that Mass Bay must follow and establishes a scholarship fund for employee training. Both of these unique stipulations aim to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future. Mass Bay is required to provide at least $3,000 in contributions to the scholarship fund, which will be set up in both victims’ names, every year for the next 10 years and $5,000 per year in the following decade. As both men were members of the Local 104 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the fund will be administered with the IBEW’s cooperation.

Mass Bay Must Provide Extensive Training Programs to Employees

As part of the settlement, Mass Bay is also required to provide thorough training and certification programs to its employees, undergo regular safety audits, establish an in-house safety committee, and notify OSHA about any work utility projects. Due to Mass Bay’s failure to comply with regulations set forth by OSHA and the crane’s manufacturer, the electrical contractor will pay OSHA a penalty of $136,000. Continue reading

Massachusetts Bay Electrical Corporation was cited by the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) last week, following the deaths of two of workers in April.

According to reports by OSHA officials, the two electrical workers had been working in Bourne, MA, from a raised personnel platform attached to an Elliot 40142 truck-mounted crane. Then men, who were performing maintenance work on power lines along the mainland side of the Cape Cod Canal, fell more than 150 feet when the crane suddenly overturned. Both men tragically sustained fatal injuries.

Brenda Gordon, OSHA’s area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts said that the accident could have been prevented had the employer supplied the men with adequate training that would have ultimately allowed the men to conduct their work safely.

Following a months-long investigation, OSHA officials found that the employees were not properly trained or evaluated on how to use the Elliott 40142 truck-mounted crane. The report also found that supervisors at the job site 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 job site. “They also did not conduct proper pre-lift planning and other required tests to ensure that the lift could be done safely.”
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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that the Bourne, Massachusetts crane accident deaths of two works last April could have been prevented if only the proper working conditions and procedures were followed. Joseph L. Boyd III from Fall River and John Loughran from Quincy died on April 12. The two of them worked for the Massachusetts Bay Electrical Corp. They were over 150 feet in the air working on electrical lines when the boom fell to the ground. They died immediately.

According to OSHA, the company’s employees did not get the proper training and were not assessed regarding their ability to work the crane. The government agency found that supervisors at the site failed to follow procedures for setting up and running the crane even though there was an operating manual available. They also failed to perform the correct prelift planning and other necessary tests to make sure the lift could be conducted safely.

Now, Massachusetts Bay has been ordered to pay a $168,000 fine for workplace violations, including the failure to use load charts to assess the minimum angle of the boom angle, failure to use an aerial lift, and allowing the crane to run at over 50% the rated capacity for its configuration.

A dramatic scene unfolded in Boston’s quaint North End neighborhood on Friday morning. Multiple media outlets are reporting that a heavy-duty crane gave way and tipped over on Commercial Street around 11:30 am. The accident caused a chaotic scene as pedestrians scattered to get out of the way of the falling crane. Photos of the scene show part of the crane resting on a now-crushed pickup truck while the long arm of the machine extends into the baseball field in Puopolo Park across the street. The end of the crane created a foot-deep hole right on the third base line.

Two people, including the crane operator, were taken to area hospitals with unspecified injuries. Pictures from the scene show one woman being taken to an ambulance on a backboard with a neck brace. There are conflicting reports in regards to her injuries. Some media outlets are reporting that she was walking near the crane at the time of the accident while others suggest she may have been hit by the crushed fence around the baseball field.
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Just a little over a week ago, on a Friday morning, August 31, 2012, an unnamed construction worker was pinned down by a piece of a crane that rolled off a trailer at Cummings Center in Beverly, Massachusetts. The worker was taken to a nearby hospital at around 10am and released only a few hours later with, thankfully, relatively minor injuries that in no way threatened his life.

According to the account of Peter O’Connor, the Deputy Fire Chief, workers were loading a piece of equipment onto a trailer when it just rolled off and injured the one employee. The man was conscious and communicative when emergency personnel arrived on the scene, and his being taken to the hospital was described as being precautionary for the most part. O’Connor went on to assert that the man was fortunate that a corner of the equipment remained caught on the trailer, keeping it from fully reaching the ground as it fell, thus mitigating the potential harm it could have inflicted.

The crew of workers hails from North Shore Marine in Salem, Massachusetts. They had recently finished a new building at the Cummings Center and only returned on the day to retrieve and remove equipment. Kevin Pelletier, owner of North Shore Marine, averred that all of his employees “are OSHA-trained and certified, all up-to-date on safety training. We put a lot of emphasis on safety,” he continued. “Everyone we work with is our family and friends.”
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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has recently released a compliance guide to help small construction businesses adhere to an important new rule for the use and operation of cranes and derricks. The new standard, Cranes and Derricks in Construction, was introduced in August of 2010, and had not been updated since it was first issued in 1971. Since then, there have been a large number of deaths and injuries related to cranes and derricks and also significant technological improvements to the cranes, both of which the new standard aims to address. It is estimated that crane and derrick accidents are the cause of approximately 22 fatalities and 175 injuries per year.

The compliance guide that was released on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, aims to help smaller businesses understand the changes and adhere to the new standard in order to promote a safer work environment for the construction industry. Some of the updated requirements include inspections of crane parts before they are assembled and assessment of ground conditions. The guide also outlines the new requirements which include, but are not limited to:

• Crane operators will need to be officially qualified or certified as of November 10, 2014.
• Clearance distances from power lines and to protect workers against electrocution hazards.
• Use of synthetic slings when climbing tower cranes and other assembly activities, and use of approved riggers, to ensure the structural stability.
• The new standard includes equipment that was not covered or had very few requirements in the prior standard, such as floating cranes.

Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, said “Over the past four decades, we’ve continued to see a significant number of worker injuries and deaths from electrocution, crushed-by and struck-by hazards while performing cranes and derricks operations…This guide will help employers understand what they must do to protect their workers from these dangerous, sometimes fatal incidents.” For the complete guide, visit OSHA’s Small Entity Compliance Guide for Final Rule Cranes and Derricks in Construction.

If you have been injured while working on a construction site or have a question about a case, feel free to contact one of our experienced attorneys for a free consultation.


OSHA issues guidance document to help small businesses comply with cranes and derricks rule, OSHA Trade News, March 8, 2011 Continue reading

Here in Massachusetts, news about construction accidents has been relatively quiet. However, in Liege, Belgium, two women died earlier this week in a tragic crane accident. Three more workers were injured.

The construction accident occurred when a crane carrying materials to the second floor of a building collapsed.

The basket fell onto a lorry containing the three workers, according to the findings of the initial investigation. The two crane accident victims, the manager of a tiling company and her daughter, were in the basket of the crane when the accident occurred.

Following the April 20 explosion off the coast of Louisiana that killed several oil rig workers, families of the deceased and some of the workers who survived the accident have filed wrongful death or personal injury lawsuits against companies involved in the offshore drilling operation. An electronics technician who was seriously injured is seeking $6 million in damages. He filed a lawsuit in Louisiana federal court.

On Tuesday, three workers who escaped the explosion on lifeboats have filed a suit claiming they were kept floating at sea for hours as they watched the rig burn, knowing their friends were inside. That lawsuit was filed in county court in Galveston, Texas, and seeks unspecified damages on behalf of the three workers and the family of a worker who is missing and presumed dead.

Working on an oil rig is among the most dangerous jobs in the world, so this incident may lead to new legislation regarding safety standards for offshore drilling operations.

Source: Suit: Workers kept at sea hours after explosion, Associated Press, May 4, 2010
Lawsuit filed in Gulf oil rig blast, The Galveston County Daily News, May 5, 2010 Continue reading

Last week, an industrial accident in Franklin, Connecticut trapped a worker inside the cab of a skid steer after a fork lift reportedly crashed into the skid steer. It took firefighters roughly 50 minutes using cutting tools and hydraulic lifts to free the unidentified man. State police say he was taken to a local hospital for minor injuries.

The fork lift accident was reported just after 7pm on Wednesday, March 24. It occurred at a construction site for a cell phone tower near the town’s library and fire department.

A state crane inspector and a compliance officer from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the construction accident.

Site: One man injured in construction accident in Franklin, Norwich Bulletin, March 25, 2010 Continue reading

On Monday, a crane accident in Philadelphia’s Center City resulted in the death of the crane operator and injuries to at least three others. According to reports on the radio, the operator fell 125 feet when the crane toppled over at about 1:30pm, hitting a building containing a florist shop and apartments. The 40-year-old operator was declared dead soon after the construction accident.

Among those injured were a 70-year-old woman in a nearby car who was hit by either the crane or debris and was in stable condition at Hahnemann Hospital. Two others in the area were injured by falling debris.

Officials from the Department of Licenses and Inspection were investigating the scene of the fatal accident to determine whether residents could safely return to their apartments.

Report: Crane topples in Center City Philadelphia, killing operator, Philadelphia Business Journal, October 12, 2009 Continue reading

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