Crane Collapse, Fall Hazards at Maine Site Lead to Fines for Pair of Contractors

June 7, 2005

The Dec. 2, 2004, tip-over of a crane at a hotel construction site in Freeport, Maine, has resulted in two contractors being fined a total of $114,700 by the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA cited J.D. Irving Ltd. and Irving Equipment Inc., Burlington, Mass., which operated the crane, and TRB Development Group Inc., Hooksett, N.H., the project’s general contractor.

OSHA’s inspection of Irving reportedly found that the crane was overloaded and its safety indicator overridden. The crane was not operated within the manufacturer’s specifications and was not inspected to ensure it was in safe operating condition.

In addition, the crane’s swing radius was not barricaded to prevent employees from being struck or crushed during its operation and frequent and regular inspections of the jobsite to identify unsafe conditions were not conducted. Irving was fined $80,000 and was issued one willful and three serious citations for these hazards.

OSHA’s inspection of the construction site found that TRB employees were exposed to falls and other hazards. Specifically, employees working at locations 14 to 28 feet above the ground lacked fall protection and were not given fall protection training; floor holes were not covered; reinforcing steel was not capped or guarded to prevent impalement; LP gas systems were not protected against damage by vehicular traffic; and ladders were not used safely. OSHA issued one willful and six serious citations to TRB and fined the company $34,700.

Each company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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