OSHA Opens Investigation Into Crane Accident

osha1The U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA office in Omaha and the Antelope County Sheriff’s office said they have opened investigations into Wednesday’s death of a wind tower subcontractor worker southeast of Elgin.
Thomas L. Bales, 40, of Denver, Colo., was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, according to Antelope County Sheriff Bob Moore.
Bernard Hauber, OSHA acting area director, confirmed Friday morning that Bales was employed by Tradesman International and was working for Wanzek Construction Inc., based out of West Fargo, N.D., which is currently constructing Prairie Breeze II (PBII) for Invenergy.
OSHA said initial reports indicated the Bales was moving a 90-ton rough-terrain crane along a county road when the crane slipped into a ditch and overturned about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.
An autopsy has been ordered by the Antelope County Attorney’s office.
Hauber said OSHA has received complaints alleging workers at the site were exposed to hazards while working near county roads that aren’t closed and don’t have adequate warning signs. Those allegations will be investigated along with the fatal incident.
“The time frame, from the time we begin an investigation, under OSHA Act regulations, we must furnish a report within six months,” Hauber said. However, he said they try to complete their investigations earlier than that.