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How to Avoid a Devastating Crane Accident

If you live in Boston – or any city – construction cranes are a common sight. Unfortunately, crane collapses are also relatively common. According to the United States Department of Labor, there are approximately 90 crane-related fatalities in the US every year. The most recent occurred in February in Lower Manhattan, when a 565-foot crane collapsed, killing a man who was sitting in his parked car. In many of these accidents, high winds, inadequate training, or improperly erected cranes are a factor. Contact a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today.

OSHA’s 12-Point Safety Checklist for Crane Use

In addition to collapses related to high winds, crane fatalities can also occur when the crane’s boom comes in contact with power lines, when the crane is improperly assembled or disassembled, or when workers are struck by the boom or load. OSHA has created a 12-point safety checklist for construction workers who will be working on or around cranes.

  1. Only qualified and highly-trained employees should operate a crane.
  2. The crane must be inspected by a designated person prior to each use.
  3. The crane must always be placed on a stable, level surface.
  4. Pins should never be unlocked or removed during assembly and disassembly unless the sections are secure and blocked.
  5. The outriggers and barricade accessible areas must be completely extended if they are inside the swing radius of the crane.
  6. Always keep at least 10 feet of clearance between the crane and any electric power lines.
  7. Conduct a thorough inspection of rigging prior to use.
  8. Use the correct load chart based on the current configuration, load weight, and lift path of the crane.
  9. When making lifts, avoid exceeding the load chart capacity.
  10. Before delivering a load, raise it a few inches, hold, verify, and run tests of the entire brake system.
  11. Avoid moving loads over workers at all times.
  12. Follow instructions given by the manufacturer, and all signals.

Crane safety boils down to these three essentials; safe conditions, well-maintained equipment, and proper training. Unfortunately, site conditions that appear safe can actually be riddled with hidden dangers, such as unstable ground and power lines. According to Tom Barth, owner of Barth Crane Inspections of South Carolina, “Site conditions cannot be assumed. They must be verified by an engineer. However, it is the crane operator’s responsibility to ask the site superintendent about any hazards such as utilities, fresh un-compacted fill and more. They may not be recognizable to the eye but could pose a threat of ground failure.”

Altman & Altman, LLP – Workers’ Comp Attorneys Serving All of Massachusetts

Our workers’ comp team has been protecting the rights of workers for over 50 years. It is widely known that construction is one of the most dangerous industries in the country. Construction projects involving heavy machinery, such as cranes, can be especially risky. When proper safety guidelines are followed and equipment is regularly inspected and maintained, the risk of serious injury and death is dramatically reduced. If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of construction-related accident, the workers’ comp team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We will make sure that you fully understand your rights and options before moving forward. If negligence played a role in your injuries, you may be entitled to additional compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.

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