A crane operator contracted by Florida Power and Light (FPL) was in his crane when it fell over onto two homes in Lauderhill. He and one of the homeowners suffered injuries and were both transported to the hospital for treatment. It is unknown why the crane fell, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating the cause. Of the two damaged homes, one suffered roof damage while the other has structural damage to the building and roof. The homeowners and their families are being provided with temporary housing by Sims Crane & Equipment who owned and operated the crane.
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Sims had been contracted by FPL to install new power poles when the accident occurred. Sims has released a statement apologizing for the damage to the two homes and for the other consequences of the collapse. In addition to the damage to the homes, 53 others were left without power and a water main was broken causing a street flood and precipitating a boil-water notice.
Crane accidents are often caused by human error, especially failures to follow maintenance and safety procedures. According to Sims own website, it is particularly important to establish a clear plan and communication to avoid accidents. They also note another common cause of crane accidents is overloading the equipment.
Negligence in this case would be may include a failure to fulfill the requirements set by the OSHA. These primarily cover maintenance requirements, but also include operator knowledge. As such, Sims is putting over 400 employees through safety training in response to this accident. FPL may also incur liability if there is evidence to prove that they failed to properly vet the company or failed to provide a safe working environment. Otherwise it is the contractor that may incur the liability for the personal injuries sustained in this incident along with the extensive property damage.
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