Worker Seriously Injured by Crane; OSHA Cites Contractor for Willful and Serious Safety Violations

work injury The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently cited Florida-based Bennett Electrical Services Co. for three safety violations, including one judged to be willful, following the serious injury of an employee.

In the course of an inspection begun in August based on a referral, OSHA discovered that a worker had been injured and hospitalized due to a faulty truck-mounted crane. While moving concrete-based traffic lights, the boom of the crane broke away from the truck, striking the operator in the head and knocking him from the operator’s station to the ground below.

One willful violation (carrying a $42,000 penalty) results from the employer’s failure to conduct annual inspections on the equipment. The employer was evidently aware of safety concerns raised by OSHA in previous citations from 2002 and 2006. A willful violation is one committed with deliberate understanding or intentional disregard for measured required by law, or with obvious indifference to worker safety and health.

Two serious violations carrying $8,400 in proposed fines have also been issued for undertaking modifications to the truck-mounted crane without the written approval of the manufacturer, and for permitting the crane to remain in operation despite known deficiencies. A serious violation occurs when there is considerable probability that death or serious worker injury could result from a hazard the employer knew about.
“Because this employer failed to provide safe equipment, a worker was seriously injured and could have been killed,” said Darlene Fossum, director of OSHA’s Fort Lauderdale Area Office. “This unfortunate incident illustrates why following OSHA’s standards are so important. All employees deserve a work environment free from unnecessary hazards.”

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

If you were injured at work and plan to file an L&I claim, contact a Washington Workers’ Compensation Attorney at Emery Reddy. During the workers compensation claim process, the Department of Labor & Industries may require you to undergo an Independent Medical Exam; if this happens to you, we urge you to consult with an Seattle L&I lawyer before attending the IME. Finally, if your claim has been denied, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced L&I attorney to appeal rejected L&I claims.

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