Dozens of construction workers are injured in crane accidents annually in the United States. Injuries and fatalities occur among the men and women operating the cranes as well as to workers and others on the ground. Crane accidents and collapses are one of the deadliest types of construction accidents, accounting for about 40 deaths every year. Read on for more information about common causes of crane accidents and how to prevent them.
Common Crane Accident Causes
Crane accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, including user error and equipment defects. But the most common causes include:
- Cranes coming into contact with power lines: Nearly 39 percent of all crane accidents are caused when the crane comes into contact with overhead power lines. If any part of the crane, including the boom or cables, makes contact with a live power line, the crane operator and any nearby workers can be electrocuted.
- Assembly and disassembly accidents: If assembly and / or disassembly is not performed according to the manufacturer’s specifications, it can result in catastrophic crane accidents. A MA work injury attorney can help you determine how to move forward if you have been injured in a crane accident.
- Crane boom collapses: When the crane boom is extended too far, the crane’s ability to carry loads can be negatively impacted. This uneven distribution of weight can cause structural problems, which can result in the boom buckling or collapsing. This type of accident accounts for approximately eight percent of all crane accidents, and usually leads to serious injuries or death.
- Tipping over: When the crane is overloaded beyond its capacity, it can tip over or collapse. Tip overs may also occur if the ground beneath the crane is uneven or unstable.
How to Prevent Crane Accidents
Crane accidents result in serious injuries and fatalities every year. If you are concerned that your employer is not following proper safety guidelines for crane operation and maintenance, you may contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and request a safety inspection. If you have been injured in a crane accident, it is in your best interest to consult with a skilled MA work injury lawyer immediately.
OSHA’s guidelines for preventing crane accidents include:
- An inspector should check the crane for mechanical problems before each use.
- Cranes should be inspected regularly to identify cracks, wiring problems, and worn or damaged parts.
- A qualified person must perform any necessary repairs or modifications.
- The crane should be placed on stable and flat ground and must be at least 10-feet from electrical cables.
- The crane must not carry a load that exceeds its capacity.
- Fences should be installed around the site to keep non-workers from getting too close to the crane.
- A qualified “signal” person should assist the operator when maneuvering loads.
- Workers should be equipped with fall protecting equipment.
- The crane’s foundation and all structural supports should be designed by a professional engineer or the crane’s manufacturer.
- Always use caution with wind. According to OSHA studies, wind is one of the top causes of crane accidents.