Written by Faith Anderson on July 30, 2013
Cranes are some of the largest and most dangerous pieces of equipment on a construction site. While cranes have allowed humans to build structures far beyond our own physical capacity, their sheer size makes them difficult to control, and a simple mistake in the operation of a crane can have devastating consequences for anyone in the surrounding area. The use of cranes in densely populated areas for the construction of residential and commercial buildings is particularly dangerous for workers and bystanders alike. Too often, errors in crane operation or defects in the equipment itself cause the crane to drop its cargo unexpectedly or crash through a building, resulting in devastating injury and loss of life. Workers who put their lives at risk every day in the construction industry deserve compensation for their workplace injuries. If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a crane accident, contact a construction accident attorney today to explore your compensation options.
Common Causes of Crane Accidents
According to estimates by the Occupations Safety and Health Administration, cranes are involved in more construction site accidents than any other piece of heavy equipment. Unfortunately, many of the resulting injuries and fatalities could have been avoided if safety guidelines had been appropriately followed and if crane operators had been adequately trained. Some of the most common causes of crane accidents at construction sites include:
- Improper crane setup
- Failure to recognize the crane’s operational limits
- Using the crane outside of manufacturer’s specifications
- Poor weather conditions like lighting or high winds
- Defective equipment resulting in crane malfunction
OSHA Regulations Regarding Crane Accidents
According to OSHA, serious injuries may occur if cranes are not inspected before use and if they are not used properly. In many instances, these injuries occur when a worker is struck by an overhead load or caught within the crane’s swing radius. Many crane fatalities, OSHA warns, occur when the boom of a crane or its load come in contact with an overhead power line. In light of these hazards, the following regulations and requirements were established by OSHA to prevent injuries and deaths caused by crane accidents at construction sites:
- Check all crane controls to ensure proper operation before use
- Ensure that the load does not exceed the crane’s rated capacity
- Do not move a load over workers
- Barricade accessible areas within the crane’s swing radius
- Watch for overhead electrical lines and maintain a safe working clearance of at least 10 feet
- Inspect wire rope, chains and hook for any damage before use
Workers’ Compensation for Crane Accident Injuries
In addition to causing physical harm, crane accidents and other construction site injuries can also result in a significant financial hardship for workers whose injuries require long-term medical care and prevent them from returning to work. For workers injured in crane accidents, critical workers’ compensation benefits may be available as reimbursement for medical expenses and loss of income. Unfortunately, some injured workers’ claims are denied, leaving them on their own to struggle with overwhelming physical and financial difficulties in the face of their injury. In some instances of construction accidents, the worker’s injury may have been caused by a third party not employed by the employer, in which case a third-party liability lawsuit may be a viable option for pursuing compensation. If either of these is the case, enlisting the help of a qualified construction accident attorney can significantly improve your chances of receiving fair and timely reimbursement for your injuries.
Contact a Construction Accident Attorney Today
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction ranks as the most dangerous industry, accounting for about 20% of all work-related fatalities. In fact, construction-related deaths rose from an alarming 1,131 in 2003 to an equally alarming 1,226 in 2006, compared to the 836 fatalities linked to mining accidents in 2007 and the 447 workers who died in manufacturing that year. Overall, the government reports between six and seven deaths per 1,000 workers in the construction industry. It would make sense then, for employers and general contractors in the construction industry to take a stronger stance on safety regulations and work harder to protect the safety of their employees on the job. Unfortunately, more and more employers are cutting corners and ignoring safety protocol in an effort to save time and money, thereby putting the lives of construction workers at serious risk. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crane accident at a construction site, contact a construction accident attorney today for legal guidance. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, and a qualified construction accident lawyer can help.