OSHA fines Manitowoc for fatal accident Feb. 2

Ben Destefan

Manitowoc Cranes has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for a crane accident in February that killed three people at the Grove U.S. facility located in Shady Grove.

Christopher Robison, 49, of Marion and John Marcoux, 66, of Chambersburg, died the day of the accident, Feb. 2, from blunt force trauma when a 300-ton capacity crane collapsed. Isaac Dean Notz, 38, of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, died days later, also from blunt force trauma suffered in the accident.

OSHA is fining Manitowoc $14,976, the maximum amount allowed, for exposing workers to struck-by hazards, according to a news release. The investigation, conducted by OSHA, found that the company placed employee work facilities too close to the crane testing area where they were in danger of being struck in a failure incident.

"This tragedy could have been avoided if the employer had assessed workplace hazards, and used effective safety procedures to protect employees from serious and fatal injuries," OSHA Harrisburg Area Office Director David Olah said in the release.

OSHA's report states that a MLC300 lattice crawler crane had its boom and luffing jib extended in winds exceeding 35 mph while employees worked in or near Test Pad 7. The boom and luffing jib collapsed in 40 mph winds.

OSHA fined Manitowoc $12,934 for a serious violation of "not furnish(ing) a place of employment which were free from recognized hazards that were likely to cause death or serious physical harm." The rest of the fine is for not providing records to OSHA within four hours of the incident. The report says records were not provided until May 9.

Manitowoc can pay the fines, request an informal conference with Olah or contest the findings before an independent commission, the release said.

Requests for a comment from a Manitowoc spokesperson were not returned Tuesday.

The report provides ways for Manitowoc to correct the hazard:

— Establish policies, procedures, rules, warnings and safe practices for prototype lattice crawler crane testing.

— Establish emergency evacuation plans and procedures for emergencies such as crane collapses or tip-overs.

— Establish a controlled-access zone during lattice crawler crane testing.

— Relocate Test Pad 7 so it is out of striking distance should a crane collapse or tip-over, or reinforce the Test Pad 7 control room so it can withstand a crane collapse or tip-over.