It could have been faulty crane pads or ground mats, but it’s still unclear what exactly caused a crane to collapse in Atlanta last week. It has been confirmed though that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched an investigation into the matter, according to the Atlanta NBC affiliate 11alive.com.
From 1997 to 2006 there was an average of 82 crane-related deaths a year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fortunately, no one was injured nor nearby structured damaged in the incident. When Atlanta firefighters arrived on the scene last Thursday afternoon they had to rescue six workers who were stranded after the crane attached to the crane pad snapped in half. The workers had been doing work on the 5th floor of an unfinished parking deck and had no way to get down.
While construction on the rest of the project resumed, the parking deck and area around it has been suspended while OSHA conducts their investigation. Some independent investigation by 11Alive’s Ryan Kruger has revealed the construction company in question, JE Dunn, has had issues with OSHA in the past.
The company was fined $14,000 by OSHA just this past March for three violations at a multifamily housing project they worked on. They were also slapped with a $45,000 penalty in 2013 for what OSHA described as repeat asbestos violations. OSHA states that cranes must be assembled on ground that is firm, drained and graded sufficiently, in conjunction with supporting materials such as steel crane pads.
JE Dunn released the following statement in their defense:
“Safety on JE Dunn projects has been a priority in our more than ninety years of constructing buildings. We have completed many projects of similar or more difficult conditions and are confident this project will be completed in a safe manner. Once we fully understand what caused the accident with this subcontractor’s crane, we will put measures in place to guard against such accidents.”
This is the third crane-related accident in the Atlanta area this year. The other two involved mobile cranes tipping over, or being “upset.” The average cran is “upset” once every 10,000 hours of use, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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