U.S. Construction Companies Face Steep Fines After Crane Accidents

In the U.S., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (commonly known as OSHA) states that cranes must be assembled on firm grounds that is also graded and sufficiently drained. Along with these basic safety best practices, the cranes should also be located away from dangerous materials and structures that could potentially cause harm.

Yet despite these regulations, crane accidents are far too common. According to Construction Dive, following a Seattle construction accident involving a crane, contractors working on the project have received a hefty fine.

Officials from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (LandI) stated that two construction workers were operating onsite as the crane came in contact with an overhead wire, subsequently causing severe burns and injuries. Officials believe the contractors willingly chose to work underneath the power lines rather than wait for them to be safely moved underground.

“LandI investigators at the site found that a mobile crane and a forklift with a crane-boom attachment had been operating under live high-voltage power lines,” read the LandI official news release. “The power lines were scheduled to be moved underground, but rather than wait for that work to be done, the companies continued to work under them.”

OSHA has been issuing numerous crane-related incidents as of late. In August, a construction company out of New Jersey was fined $71,400 for 29 safety violations relating to crane and chemical usage as well as electrical hazards.

Meanwhile, The Seattle Times reports that the three companies involved in the Seattle incident were fined a total of $229,200. The largest fine amounted to a price tag of $133,550 for six safety violations, or more than $21,000 per violation.

So far, at least two of the contractors have appealed the citations.

LandI reports that the money received from these citations is placed into the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund, which helps workers and families of individuals who have perished on the job.

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