Florida’s Tragic Crane Collapse Raises Workplace Safety Concerns

  • Editorial Team
  • News
  • 2 August 2023

In December of 2022, a devastating crane collapse occurred during the construction of a $153 million, 6.7-mile Florida Department of Transportation infrastructure project. The accident took place while workers were expanding a bridge along the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 between Sunrise and Broward in Fort Lauderdale. The incident resulted in the death of 46-year-old Joseph Bien Aime and serious injuries to a second worker, aged 52. The mishap also caused I-95 to experience prolonged gridlock and ended up raising questions about workplace safety measures.

OSHA Investigation and Citations

Following the tragedy, the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) conducted an investigation into the incident. OSHA found that the primary contractor for the project, the de Moya Group, had violated federal safety regulations and exposed workers to potential struck-by risks from an unstable crane.

The de Moya Group received four major citations for:

  • Violating federal safety regulations and putting workers in danger of being struck by objects.
  • Employing a crane with a damaged load indicator, compromising the crane’s safe operation.
  • Failing to ensure that updated crane operating controls did not compromise safe crane operation.
  • Utilizing a crane with a modified swing control, putting workers at risk of being struck by the crane or its load.

Deficient Workplace Safety Precautions

OSHA’s investigation revealed several lapses in workplace safety precautions taken by the de Moya Group. The company allegedly failed to guarantee solid ground conditions or proper support for the crane, leading to the incident on the day of the accident. Furthermore, the crane involved in the collapse was not subject to routine monthly inspections, and its operator’s cab windows had cracks that affected visibility. Plus, operational aids were not functioning properly, and no backup plans were in place during the crane’s operation.

Legal Consequences and Family Lawsuit

In light of the tragedy, Bien Aime’s family sued the de Moya Group for wrongful death. The lawsuit highlighted the company’s failure to adhere to industry-recognized and legally necessary safety precautions, resulting in the loss of a husband and father of two daughters.

The crane collapse incident at the Florida construction site served as a tragic reminder of the importance of adhering to workplace safety regulations. This incident should tell you why we keep highlighting importance of regular maintenance for used heavy equipment. The OSHA investigation and subsequent citations against the de Moya Group also underscore the necessity for businesses to prioritize the safety of their workers, and providing them with every chance to return to their families safely at the end of each workday. The case has raised awareness about workplace safety procedures and prompted businesses to reevaluate and strengthen their safety measures to prevent such accidents in the future.