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Austin crane collision underscores the importance of safety compliance

| Sep 17, 2020 | Workplace Accidents |

Safety regulations are not an impediment to doing business. They exist to protect the individuals who are being asked to do the actual, difficult work. This is particularly relevant in the construction industry, where one small slip-up can mean the difference between life and death.

This reality weighed heavy on our mind following the recent crane collision in Austin. Thankfully, nobody lost their life. But 16 of the site’s workers were taken to the hospital, and six more suffered other injuries. The incident is reminder that safety regulations should be taken seriously.

Safety rules for cranes on construction sites

The hazards of construction site cranes are far too familiar to many Texans. The state saw 50 crane-related workplace deaths from 2011-17 – a figure higher than the next three states combined. (Florida and New York each had 16 such fatalities during that time, while California reported 14).

Crane safety standards are numerous and detailed. Employers must consider:

  • Operator licensing and certifications
  • The safety of the ground conditions
  • Nearby power lines
  • Regular inspections by an appropriate, knowledgeable individual
  • Equipment requirements
  • Rigger certifications
  • Wind conditions

This is not an exhaustive list. These rules must be taken within the context of broader construction industry safety regulations, including those at the state and federal level.

Recent safety violations

Shortly after the Austin crane collision, some potentially troubling news was revealed. According to KVUE, the construction company at the site had two OSHA violations over the past decade. Both led to fines and the cases were settled.

Right now, we cannot say for sure what happened at the work site in Austin on Sept. 16, 2020. Is negligence to blame? Was it an honest accident? The investigation into the incident will provide more concrete information in due time.

Things easily could have been much worse. We hope this sobering fact serves as a reminder of the importance of following proper crane safety protocols. Workers’ lives may depend on it.