How Crane Accidents Happen

Crane accidents were responsible for 22 deaths last year, reports the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA). Electricians, construction workers, brazers and welders are the occupations at highest risk for serious injury and fatality.

Despite improved safety regulations and protocols for crane operation in various industries, these accidents occur with alarming frequency in areas where construction is booming. Tower cranes, overhead cranes, mobile cranes and rail-mounted cranes pose serious hazards for not only their operators, but those working around them.

According to recent OSHA crane accident analysis, some of the most common causes include:

  • Boom collapses
  • Dropped cargo
  • Overturned cranes
  • Equipment malfunction or failure
  • Contact with active power lines resulting in electrocution
  • Falls
  • Caught in between accidents
  • Struck-by crane loads/booms or jibs
  • Crushing by counter weight

How do crane accidents happen?

The following crane accident reports are taken directly from published OSHA data. All of these fatal incidents took place on private or public construction sites.  The reports provide insight into the mechanics of crane accidents on building sites, and the great dangers faced by workers and crane operators.

  • A crane operator was lifting a steel beam when it broke loose and tumbled four stories, crushing the operator’s compartment. The employee suffered fatal injuries from the impact of the steel beam.
  • An employee was unloading materials from a delivery truck using a mobile crane. The crane operator was guiding a load when the crane contacted an energized overhead power line. The employee was electrocuted and died.
  • An employee was removing old network protectors from an electrical system vault. He was standing at the ground-level opening of the vault and signaled a boom truck operator to pick up a grate he had attached to the crane’s hook. The grate gave way as the crane began to pick up a second piece of grating, causing the employee to fall 23 feet. He suffered multiple head, facial and extremity fractures in addition to internal injuries.
  • An employee was replacing filters on a step-down transformer using a mobile crane. The employee came into contact with 4,160 volts and was killed.
  • An employee was helping a co-worker set up a hook tender. The stump that was being used as an anchor point flew up, releasing the tension on the skyline. The employee was instantly killed when he was struck by the concrete stump and the skyline.
  • An employee was moving a gravel shaker table with a Link Belt mobile crane. The crane tipped over, crushing the crane cab and the employee. The employee sustained multiple internal injuries and died.

Most New Yorkers remember the TriBeca crane collapse in 2016 that killed one passerby and severely injured two others. High winds were initially blamed for the incident, that sent the 600-foot crane boom crashing down in lower Manhattan, but further investigations revealed that the crane operator made serious mistakes. Authorities determined that in his rush to lower the boom quickly, the operator ignored procedures regarding inclement weather.

Unfortunately, fines for unsafe construction crane operation do little to hold companies into account. In the event of catastrophic injury or death, liability may rest with the construction company, contractors, sub-contractors or the equipment manufacturer.

Construction accident lawyers serving New York

Aronova & Associates has in-depth experience litigating construction accident and workplace injury claims in New York. When OSHA crane safety guidelines are violated, defective equipment fails or procedures are ignored, crane accident victims and their loved ones may be entitled to compensation. We are dedicated to achieving the legal recovery your family needs and deserves.

Speak with a results-driven construction accident lawyer at our firm to explore your legal rights. Call (516) 640-3900 to schedule your free case review.

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