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Lack of Safety Protocols Leads to Employee’s Electrocution: Melbourne Crane Service Cited.

US Labor Department cites Melbourne crane service provider after investigation finds lack of safety protocols led to 34-year-old employee’s electrocution

PALM BAY, FL – The US Department of Labor has identified a Melbourne rental crane service provider as being responsible for the electrocution of a 34-year-old crane operator at a Palm Bay work site in August 2023. The incident could have been prevented if the necessary safety measures were in place and followed. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted an investigation and found that Capt’n Hook’s Crane Service Inc. sent an uncertified crane operator alone to a residential construction project, resulting in the operator’s tragic death.

Failure to Follow Safety Protocols

On August 23, 2023, Capt’n Hook’s Crane Service Inc. assigned an uncertified crane operator to lift and place metal frame roof trusses at a residential construction project. The operator positioned the crane on an unpaved driveway and extended the boom to begin the lift. Tragically, the operator was electrocuted when the steel wire rope and chain rigging, suspended from the crane boom, made contact with two 13,200-volt power lines adjacent to the property.

Citations and Violations

OSHA cited Capt’n Hook’s Crane Service for three serious violations related to the incident. The company employed an uncertified crane operator and operated a hydraulic crane within 20 feet of overhead power lines. Additionally, they failed to ensure the crane was positioned on a stable foundation by using adequate cribbing to support the outriggers at a greater height. The employer also received two other-than-serious violations for not labeling and marking rigging equipment and for having illegible warning labels on the hydraulic crane.

The proposed penalties for these violations amount to $26,585.

The Importance of Workplace Safety

Construction safety standards for mobile, overhead, and rail-mounted cranes are crucial to prevent workplace accidents. These standards were established in response to a high rate of accidents and fatalities related to crane operation in the construction industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 12 crane operators lost their lives in 2022.

Employers have a responsibility to prioritize the safety of their employees and provide a safe working environment. Unfortunately, in this case, Capt’n Hook’s Crane Service chose to cut corners and jeopardized the life of their employee.

Compliance and Resources

Capt’n Hook’s Crane Service has 15 business days to comply with the citations and penalties, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Employers in the construction industry should take this incident as a reminder to prioritize workplace safety. Developing a comprehensive safety and health program is essential. OSHA provides valuable resources and compliance assistance to help employers meet the necessary standards. Employers can visit OSHA’s website for information on developing a workplace safety and health program or contact the agency for free assistance with complying with OSHA standards.


The tragic electrocution of a crane operator at a Palm Bay work site could have been prevented if proper safety protocols were in place. Employers must prioritize workplace safety and ensure that all necessary measures are implemented to protect their employees. By following industry standards and regulations, employers can create a safe working environment and prevent such incidents from occurring.

Reference: US Labor Department cites Melbourne crane service provider after investigation finds lack of safety protocols led to 34-year-old employee’s electrocution

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