- A two-crane collision at an Austin, Texas, project site known as the Mueller Redevelopment highlights the need for contractors to develop and follow site safety plans that detail the positioning of each crane during construction. The Sept. 16 crane incident injured 22 people; 16 were sent to area hospitals.
- Scott Orr, owner of Paradise Crane Consultants, told KXAN in Austin that the general contractor or "contractor in charge" on any project with multiple cranes typically works according to plans that identify the location of each crane during the course of the project. If the work necessitated that a crane be moved to a different location, all contractors would decide on a new plan.
- A representative from Austin's Real Estate Department told KXAN that the city requires developers to obtain a license if a crane will move over public property and that the developer must have adequate insurance to cover potential damage done by the crane. There is no crane license on file for the Mueller Redevelopment project, according to the official, and it is unknown whether the project had a site safety plan that designated crane locations.
City officials also told KXAN that the area of Austin where the Mueller project is located has more green space and that the cranes might not have had to swing over public property.
It is unknown whether the crane operators involved in the Austin accident were certified.
In November 2018, OSHA issued a final rule requiring the certification of crane operators by either type and capacity or type only. The agency rule also mandated that those obtaining certification engage in ongoing crane operation education.
OSHA received industry recommendations regarding the new rule and altered effective dates in response. These included, according to the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO), that:
- Crane operators could be certified by type only and must seek certification from an accredited organization like the NCCCO.
- Employers must evaluate their crane operators according to specified criteria and processes.
- Employers must keep documentation regarding crane operator certification current.
- The certification aims to reduce the "human error" element of crane operations.
There have been a few major crane accidents blamed on crew mistakes since the rule went into effect. For instance, in April 2019, a tower crane fell from atop a downtown Seattle Google office project, killing two workers and two people in cars below. During an investigation, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries found that the crews taking down the cranes did not follow the manufacturer's instructions and removed almost all of the tower's pins and sleeves at once, weakening the crane structure and making it vulnerable to gusts of wind that knocked it over.