Cranes are often used on construction and industrial sites to lift and move heavy objects. They are often essential as they are one, if not the only, tool used to move objects that weigh thousands of pounds. There are more than 125,000 cranes in use in the construction industry, as well as an additional 100,000 more used in general and maritime industries. These cranes are operated by more than 250,000 workers. Although invaluable, cranes can be extremely dangerous if not operated using the correct safety precautions. The size of the crane itself, as well as the size of the materials it moves, can fatally injure workers and bystanders if the crane or the materials were to fall. The most recent data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on crane accidents is from 2006. There were 72 reported fatalities caused by crane accidents that year. Over the decade prior to that from 1997 to 2006, there were 818 total workplace deaths as a result of crane accidents. These fatal accidents were most commonly caused by objects falling from the cranes that then hit a worker or bystander. Some other causes also include being run over by a crane, falling from a crane, and electrocution.
In numbers, 62 percent of deaths were caused by contact with object or equipment, 20 percent were due to falls, 10 percent were due to transportation incidents, and 8 percent were a result of contact with an electrical current. Objects do not just fall from cranes without reason, however. The most common causes of these accidents are use of crane for purposes outside of the manufacturer’s specifications, improper crane selection, poor weather, improper crane set up, and falling debris or other hazardous conditions surrounding the crane. By following proper safety protocol, most crane accidents can be prevented. It was found that 90 percent of crane accidents are caused by human error and 80 percent can be attributed to crane operators exceeding operational capacity. That is why it is of the utmost importance that those operating such machinery be sufficiently trained and aware of the dangers of using cranes improperly. The Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) has estimated that up to 90 percent of crane operators do not have certification. Therefore, it has recently revamped its safety regulations in order to reduce crane accidents.
On February 5 of this year, there was a fatal crane collapse in New York City in which a 38-year-old man was killed and two others were seriously injured. This is the most recent high profile account of a lethal crane collapse in the country. This accident is thought to be caused by very high and gusty winds, something that cannot necessarily be controlled but can be accounted for.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a crane accident, no matter the cause of the accident, the law offices of Altman & Altman, LLP are trained and have the experience needed to help you receive the compensation you deserve. We have been helping Massachusetts injured workers and their families receive the benefits they deserve for over 50 years
“Common Causes of Crane Accidents.” Houston Personal Injury Attorney. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 July 2016.
“Deadly New York City Crane Collapse Underlines Dangers.” NBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 July 2016.
“Houston Personal Injury Attorney.” The Law Office of Daniel D. Horowitz, III, PC. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 July 2016.