Back in July, a 300-foot crane collapsed at a Houston refinery and killed four workers: Marion âScooterâ Hubert Odom III, 41; John D. Henry, 33; Daniel âDJâ Lee Johnson, 30; and Rocky Dale Strength, 30. Now, federal regulators have reported that the craneâs operator, who was among those killed, had never been in the machineâs cab before that day and was not qualified to operate it. Dane Schiller writes in the Houston Chronicle:
âNot only was the crane operator inadequately trained, but the project superintendent did not ensure the crane did not reach hazardous conditions,â OSHA area director Mark Briggs said. â¦
The employer did not ensure the crane operator had specific training on the craneâs operation, controls, load charges and a safety device, according to a citation.
OSHA is proposing that Louisiana-based Deep South Crane and Rigging pay $71,500 in fines that include six âseriousâ violations, as well as a repeat violation of failing to ensure a worker was adequately trained.
Briggs, the OSHA area director, told the Chronicle that âit is possible this tragedy could have been preventedâ if OSHAâs regulations and industry standards had been followed. However, as Celeste pointed out when the collapse occurred, OSHA has also been dragging its feet on a crane and derrick standard thatâs been in the works for years.
In other news:
New York Times: Household employers who donât pay taxes and file appropriate paperwork for babysitters, housekeepers, and other such employees may deprive these workers of the chance to get Social Security payments when they retire and workersâ compensation if theyâre injured on the job.
BBC: Servicemen stationed on Christmas Island and exposed to radiation during testing of Britainâs early nuclear bombs are seeking compensation for physical and mental damage.
Washington Post: The Army is considering a fitness camp for recruits who flunk induction physicals because theyâre overweight (47,447 potential recruits have failed the test over the past four years).
New York Times: As President Obama highlights the importance of science, some scientists hope heâll work to increase the number of women in top scientific jobs.
NIOSH: Emergency medical service responders now have better personal protective equipment available to them, thanks to work by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Fire Protection Association.