Texas Work Comp Division Encourages Crane Safety in Wake of Accidents

September 10, 2008

Recent construction crane accidents causing injuries and accidents in Texas and elsewhere have prompted the Texas Department of Insurance to urge employers and employees to use safety precautions when operating cranes.

In July, four Texas workers were killed and seven injured in a crane collapse in Houston, and one employee died in a crane incident in Smithville. Texas led the nation in the number of crane fatalities from 2003 to 2006, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers using cranes on construction job sites to follow safety precautions. Among these, some of the requirements regarding crane operation and inspections indicate that employers must:

–Comply with the crane manufacturer’s specifications and limitations for operating a crane;
–Have a competent person inspect cranes prior to and during each use to make sure they are in safe operating condition; cranes should not be operated with defective or broken apparatus;
–Thoroughly inspect hoisting machinery each year by a competent person or by a government or private agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor; and
–Maintain records of the dates and results of inspections for each piece of equipment.

TDI-DWC recommends that employers also follow crane manufacturer’s instructions regarding crane inspections, which may include more frequent inspections and recommended checklists. Additional requirements regarding the safe use and condition of cranes and hoisting equipment are listed in OSHA’s 29 CFR 1926.550. While OSHA regulations do not apply to state and local governments, TDI-DWC encourages public sector employers and employees to follow the OSHA standards as best practices for injury prevention.

Education and training of employers and employees in the safe operation of crane equipment is important in preventing injuries and fatalities. TDI-DWC offers free safety training video loans to Texas employers, including the following crane-related titles:

Anatomy of a Lift – V542 [English],
Controlling the Load – V1540 [English and Spanish],
Crane Operation Safety – V730 [English]; and
Crane Operator Safety – V458 [English and Spanish].

For more information about obtaining safety resources from the TDI-DWC Video Resource Library, or to request a free consultation for help in complying with OSHA safety regulations, visit the TDI-DWC Web site at http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/wc/safety/index.html or call 1-800-687-7080. OSHA’s crane safety regulations can be found online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/cranehoistsafety/standards.html.

Source: Texas Department of Insurance

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