The death of a 37-year old worker in a crane accident on a Florida highway project last fall could have been prevented if crane safety protocols had been followed, the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said April 23 in citing two project subcontractors.

The Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the worker who was killed as Ryan Haynes, who was working as a project manager for Concrete Impressions of Florida. A native of Radford, Va., he also served for nine years in the U.S. Army before joining the construction industry, said an obituary posted by the Radford News Journal

A worker from Adcock Cranes, Plant City, Fla., was using a Liebherr wheeled mobile crane to lift a 10,700-lb panel for a sound barrier into place near the side of State Route 417 in Orlando Oct. 3 when the machine toppled, according to OSHA. The crane was sitting near the top edge of a 70° slope, and load rotation by the operator placed pressure on the ground near the right rear outrigger. That caused the ground to give way.

Haynes was working on an aerial lift nearby within the crane’s swing radius, according to OSHA. As the crane overturned, its boom hit the worker, causing fatal injuries. 

Erin Sanchez, OSHA area office director in Orlando, said in a statement that investigators found the contractors failed to provide employees with a safe work environment. 

Investigators said Adcock had not ensured that ground conditions were firm, drained and graded to adequately support the crane and materials per the manufacturer’s specifications. OSHA cited the contractor for one serious violation, proposing a penalty of about $16,000. 

OSHA also cited Concrete Impressions of Florida for a serious violation related to extension ladders, with inspectors saying they found the contractor had taken them apart to reach and rig the sound barrier panels in a way in which they were not designed. OSHA proposed a penalty of about $4,800. Inspectors said the contractor failed to document required inspections of a chain sling but proposed no penalty for the citation. 

Neither contractor immediately returned calls for comment. 

The companies will have 15 days after receiving the citations to comply, request a meeting with OSHA or contest the findings. 

The work was part of the Central Florida Expressway Authority’s SR 417 Corridor Capacity Improvements Project. As ENR previously reported, the $470.5-million project is widening 21 miles of the highway from four lanes to six. It is scheduled for completion this year.