With Texas currently leading the U.S. in fatal crane accidents, a CBS 11 I-Team investigation reports that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has decided to increase the state’s safety inspections.
Texas has experienced nearly four times as many deaths as any other state between 2011 and 2015, according to the CBS 11 I-Team. The team’s investigation concluded that eight North Texas workers have been killed in crane accidents since 2012. Several of these deaths weren’t reported on by the media, according to CBS, which suggests it is likely the result of construction companies requiring victims to sign a “secrecy agreement.”
Each accident, however, caught the attention of federal safety officials, leading OSHA to put the construction industry in Texas on notice by renewing an enforcement initiative targeting crane operators. According to CBS, the program increases crane inspections with the goal of reducing serious and fatal injuries.
According to the federal report, OSHA found the risk of work-related injuries “may be far greater than the elevated risk reported by employers.” In every fatal crane accident investigation in North Texas since 2012, at least one serious violation was issued by OSHA. In more than half the cases, the I-Team found the fine for each death was less than $10,000.
Crane operators did not have to be licensed to operate in the state of Texas, but as of December 2018, the federal government has required all crane operators to be certified, CBS reports.
Source: CBS 11