Crane Accidents

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Cranes are used in a variety of construction projects, from high-rise buildings to road and bridge projects. Although a necessary and vital piece of equipment, if proper safety procedures and precautions are not used, working on and even around cranes can be deadly. It is crucial that any company or government project using this type of equipment maintains strict safety guidelines to protect those working on the construction project.

Fatality Statistics For Crane Operators & Workers On The Ground

Many people are injured each year in crane construction accidents; dozens of these are fatalities. The most common fatality accidents involving cranes are either from electrocution, the load dropping on workers or the crane collapsing. In a look at construction crane accident fatalities over a 14-year period from 1992-2006, there are certain accidents that are more common.

  • There were a total of 632 deaths over the period, averaging 42 per year.
  • Construction laborers were the most common type of worker killed, followed by equipment operators.
  • Almost 25% of the deaths were due to electrocution, followed by struck by load, crane collapse and struck by boom.
  • Mobile cranes were involved in 71% of the fatalities. Tower cranes were only involved in 5% of the fatalities. The other 24% were a variety of overhead, barge or floating cranes.
  • Overall crane fatalities are even higher. From 1997-2006, crane related fatalities ranged from a low of 62 in 2003 up to 97 deaths in 1997.

At a 2010 Crane & Rigging Conference, the data from crane related deaths and injuries was presented by the Center For Construction Research & Training, breaking down the types of accidents and causes. In 2008, there were 58 deaths from crane accidents. Although the majority of these were workers, there were also 4 by-standers killed. There were 126 injuries, with 100 happening to construction workers, crane operators and the rest sustained by by-standers and rescue workers. In this year, crane collapses were the number one cause, attributing to 39% of the injury and fatality incidents.

Preventing Crane Accidents

The use of heavy equipment such as cranes requires many safety precautions on the worksite. This involves making sure that all workers are properly trained and certified on all equipment but also involves ensuring correct maintenance is performed on the equipment and that there is a safety plan for each lift. According to OSHA, ways that construction site management and workers can improve crane safety are:

  • Qualified and trained personnel. Only people who are trained and qualified on crane operation and maintenance should operate any crane function. Equipment should be properly inspected before use.
  • Level, secure site. Cranes should only be operated on a level, firm area.
  • Safety plan. Before operation, there should be a plan to avoid any dangers. This involves planning to stay within load weight restrictions, not moving loads over workers and looking for dangers such as power lines.
  • Check load stability. Raise load a few inches, hold and check stability and braking before moving the load.
Many crane accidents and fatalities can be prevented. With electrocution being the number killer in construction crane accidents, having a good safety plan that includes awareness of all power lines and sources of electricity could eliminate many preventable deaths. It is up to all construction management and workers to ensure they are adhering to safety guidelines to prevent any avoidable crane accidents.
Even the Crane Inspection & Certification Bureau agrees that most crane accidents can and should be prevented. They point that 90% of crane accidents are human error that can be rectified by improved training. They warn that crane accidents can lead to legal liabilities for the construction companies and property owners and that improved training is less expensive then litigation costs.

Crane Accident Attorneys Working to Help You & Your Family

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers is experienced in handling serious accidents on construction sites–including crane accidents. Our experience with crane accidents has allowed us to develop a network of some of the leading experts in crane design, operations and construction safety. If your loved one was injured in any type of crane-related accident, we would honor the opportunity to speak to you regarding your legal rights. As with all of our accident injury cases, there is never a fee to charge to talk with our lawyers about your situation. (888) 424-5757

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