Crane collapse at a marina results in $165,000 in fines
At Marine Construction Magazine, we routinely receive emails and correspon- dence with regard to issues surrounding safety in marine construction. With this in mind, we thought it only fitting that we would share in upcoming issues of Marine Construction Magazine a current or past safety story that may – in some way, shape or form – prevent the same unfortunate incident from happening to another. If this information causes any of us to rethink a certain assigned job, duty or task, then in some small way this information may contribute to a safer work environment. We hope so.
A marine construction contractor had been hired to replace and repair storm-damaged pilings at a marina in the New York metropolitan area.
While installing pilings, the 80-foot boom of the barge-mounted crane fell over backward, bouncing off the stays of a sailboat and landing on top of a yacht. OSHA’s inspection found that the crane lacked boom stops and a boom hoist limiting device, necessary safety devices that would have prevented the boom from falling backward. The crane had not been inspected by a competent person who could have identified these and other hazards.
These hazards resulted in two willful citations carrying $98,000 in fines. A willful violation is one committed with intentional disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
“This crane should not have been operating. Not only did it lack required safety devices, it had not been inspected for these and other defects that should have been corrected before the crane began operating. The employer deliberately failed to adhere to basic crane safety standards, putting at risk the lives of its employees and anyone else in the vicinity,” said the OSHA area director after the accident.
Fourteen serious citations, with a potential $67,200 in fines, were given for:
1) hazards related to the set up, operation and maintenance of the crane and barge, including failing to conduct required daily, monthly and annual inspections of the crane, the barge and the crane’s wire lifting ropes;
2) failure to ensure that load charts, with the crane’s correct lifting capacity, were in the crane;
3) failure to reduce the crane’s rated lifting capacity to account for operating on the barge;
4) failure to ensure that the cabling system used to secure the crane to the barge is sufficiently sized and strong to support the crane’s load;
5) failure to ensure that the barge was structurally sufficient;
6) and failure to erect control lines or railing to mark the crane’s swing/crush zone.
A serious violation occurs when there is sub- stantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The marine construction company was given 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with OSHA’s area director or contest the find- ings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
Republished from Marine Construction Magazine Issue II, 2022