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Westminster Manor Crane Accident Revives Question: Should Austin Regulate Crane Operators

This afternoon, a construction worker was seriously injured when a crane collapsed at the Westminster Manor construction site. 

These types of on-the-job injuries raise a number of interesting legal questions.  But today, I’m not worried about legal questions; instead, I’m worried about a safety question.

This is not the first crane collapse in Austin or Central Texas.  The last time Austin had a fatal crane accident, city council member Mike Martinez suggested that the City of Austin should consider regulating cranes.  As it stands, neither the state nor the city seriously regulate the use of cranes.  Instead, Texas generally relies on federal OSHA investigators to enforce crane safety.  But there aren’t enough federal investigators to effectively oversee the state’s booming construction industry.

As a result, maybe it’s time to revisit the question about local regulation.  Maybe the city can step in where the state isn’t to try and protect our Austin workers.

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