Crane not Assembled Properly Leads to Double Fatality on Interstate leading to an Investigation of Lufkin Company

Crane not Assembled Properly Leads to Double Fatality on Interstate leading to an Investigation of Lufkin Company

OSHA finds three willful, two serious violations and proposes $212K in penalties.

A Lufkin contractor’s failure to assemble a crane boom properly caused the crane to collapse onto a passing vehicle on Interstate 10 near Beaumont, TX killing the two occupants in April 2021.

An investigation by OSHA determined Hemphill WBE Pile Driving Co. Inc. was installing supports for an elevated section of the highway at the time of the incident. The administration found the operator failed to determine the correct weight of the load while using the crane to retrieve a helmet box and hammer three feet into the ground. The boom buckled and landed on the vehicle.

OSHA cited the company for three willful and two serious violations, including operating a crane beyond its rated load capacity and failing to assemble the boom properly. The company faces $212,599 in proposed penalties, according to a press release.

“Two people died senselessly because Hemphill Pile Driving failed to follow assembly instructions and federal regulations. They endangered their employees and every person driving on this section of Interstate 10,” said OSHA Area Director Mark Briggs in Houston. “Employers are responsible for ensuring they follow safety and health rules and conduct operations in a manner that keeps workers and others safe.”

Incorporated in 1989, Hemphill specializes in pile driving. The contractor has approximately 11 employees. The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent OSHRC. Learn more about OSHA requirements for cranes and derricks in construction here.

About the Author

Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

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