Two crane workers were seriously injured in West Seattle when the mobile crane they were operating came into contact with a major power line.
Seattle Fire Lt. Harold Webb said, “The two workers were standing underneath the crane when it made contact with the power line … ,”
The construction project took place at 4505 42nd SW in West Seattle and caused power outages in the surrounding area for several hours following the accident. Komo News reported that several witnesses say they heard workers yelling, “whoa, whoa, whoa” before the crane hit the power lines. Both workers were rushed to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition with severe burn injuries.
Work has been temporarily shut down at the construction site while Labor & Industries investigates the accident. According to a City Light worker some of the power lines were marked with flags to warn crane operators. But there were no flags on the line where the crane hit.
In most incidents regarding overhead power-lines the workers were aware that power lines were present. Following safety rules for operating cranes near power lines would likely have prevented these accidents.
- Could the crane get closer than 20ft to the power line?
- Keeping a safe distance from power-lines is key to preventing accidents.
- Identify the crane’s work zone and determine how close it could get to the power line.
- Establish the boundaries of your work zone using flags, a range control warning device or a range limit device.
- If the voltage is over 350,000 volt, than a 50 foot clearance must be maintained.
- If you determine the equipment will operate within reach of the minimum clearance distance, then
you must take steps to prevent contact with power lines by using encroachment/ electrocution prevention methods outlined in WAC 296-155-53408(2)(b).
- If your work zone is inside the minimum approach distance, there are additional precautions that must be taken. You must have the power-line owner/ operator determine the absolute minimum clearance.
To prevent power-line accidents, Washington State has construction crane rules that employers must follow when operating cranes near power lines and can be found here. For information on the safety standards and regulations specific to cranes, you can visit OSHA’s website here. As always, The Integrated Group offers consultation in regulatory compliance including training and certification in proper crane operation.
You can reach The Integrated Group for any questions or concerns at 425-822-8500 or firstname.lastname@example.org