Federal inspectors will be conducting a round of enhanced inspections of cranes at construction sites and ports beginning this week in an effort to reduce injuries and fatalities from cranes mishaps in the Northwest.
Officials from the federal Occupational Health and Safety have investigated 13 crane-related fatalities in the last five years in Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Idaho.
The latest crane-related fatality in Pierce County happened March 12 when a longshore union crane mechanic was killed on a crane at the Port of Tacoma’s Pierce County Terminal. Jeff Surber, 46, of Bonney Lake died while adjusting machinery atop one of the towering container cranes at the terminal.
Surber, a veteran union member, worked for the Pacific Crane Maintenance Co.
The state Department of Labor and Industries is still completing its report on the accident, department spokeswoman Elaine Fischer said today. That report is due to be released later this month.
OSHA Regional Administrator Dean Ikeda said most accidents are avoidable with adequate training and safety controls.
“Our goal is to highlight the safety concerns and help employers and employees take steps to reduce the incidents related to crane operations,” he said.
The most common hazards leading to serious injuries and fatalities are crane tip-overs, being struck by a crane , electrocutions and being caught between a crane and other equipment or objects, the federal agency said.