By Judy Reed
A crane collapse at the Kent County Correctional Facility earlier this year was caused by operator error, according to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
G2 Inc., a company from Cedar Springs specializing in precast concrete and steel erectors and crane rentals, was a subcontractor on a new addition at the jail. G2 was awarded two contracts for the project; one contract for the precast concrete erection and another contract for supplying a crane and crane operator to perform lifts for the other subcontractors on the project.
According to MIOSHA, on February 10, the crane operator who normally operated the crane had taken the day off, and the new operator had never operated the Sumitomo SC1500 with a working luffing jib attached to it. The main boom struck the new facility addition and fleet garage. One worker was injured with a fractured shoulder caused by falling debris and construction material, and two jail trustees suffered minor injuries. There was significant damage to the crane and the construction project. The operator of the crane was not injured.
The old portion of the jail suffered damage to water and electrical lines, causing it to lose heat. This prompted the transfer of 150 inmates to other jails in the West Michigan area for staff and inmate safety and crowding purposes.
MIOSHA has proposed a fine of $21,000 in penalties for the accident, and another $7,250 in safety issues found with the crane, that were not associated with the accident.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and notices to comply or contest the violations and penalties.