Crane accidents and crane collapses are the cause of dozens of catastrophic injuries and deaths each year. Cranes are huge pieces of construction equipment and often located in urban areas with large populations. Properly rigging of the load and use and setup of the outriggers is essential prior to any lift. When a construction crane weighing thousands of pounds and rising several hundred feet tall tips over, and a crane accident occurs, huge pieces of steel suddenly become massive objects crashing down onto co-workers, pedestrians, nearby residents in adjacent buildings, construction workers and contractors and other third parties below.
Crane Accidents often involve multiple contractors and negligent third parties. If you have been involved in a crane accident and are seriously hurt or a loved one was killed, it is imperative that you speak with a crane accident personal injury attorney as soon as possible. A knowledgeable crane accident lawyer will quickly and efficiently identify the evidence that needs to be preserved to prevent tampering, destruction, or other testing without approval. The attorneys will devote their time and resources filing a lawsuit and preparing legal motions to protect evidence for your case. They will then fight for all the legal damages available to you including past and future pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost wages, loss of a loved one, and other legal remedies.
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Cause of Crane Accidents
These are some of the most common crane accidents and causes of crane accidents. All crane accidents are avoidable by following OSHA regulations and by performing proper maintenance and utilizing training. Common causes of crane accidents include:
Crane booms, cables, and other crane parts encounter power lines and cause crane electrocution accidents. OSHA requires cranes and all crane parts to always be at least 20 feet away from electrical lines. Before cranes are erected near power lines, site managers must perform analysis of the work area to be sure that the movement of the crane will not violate the 20 ft boundary. Failure to follow this rule can lead to the electrocution of the crane operator.
Weight limits that are crossed can lead to major injury causing crane accidents. Oversized objects can be dropped if a crane is overburdened with a load it cannot handle. Cranes contain a load moment indicator which is supposed to safeguard cranes from these types of accidents.
Crane Assembly Accident
Cranes must be assembled and disassembled according the manufacturer specifications and OSHA regulations. After initial crane setup and before further operating, tests should be conducted to test the crane for proper stability. Crane stability failure can cause accidents that lead to deaths and serious injuries. Accidents involving assembly and disassembly of cranes account for over 10% of all crane accidents.
Crane Boom Collapse
When the crane boom gets extended too far, the cranes ability to carry the load is decreased and adds dangerous pressure on the crane structure including hydraulic and mechanical components. If the pressure is too great, a crane boom collapse accident may occur leading to the crane and its load and structure collapsing on workers below.
Crane Tip-Over Accident
Crane tip-overs or tipping can happen when there is overloading beyond the crane’s load capacity or if the ground and foundation beneath the crane is not level or unstable.
Crane Fall Accidents
High winds and unstable platforms can cause crane fall accidents. At particular risk are the operators of tower cranes. When the weather changes mid-day, the crane operator and /or the construction superintendent must make changes to the lift schedule. Sudden unexpected gusts of wind can cause the center of gravity to shift beyond stability and tip over with the load
OSHA requires all cranes to be inspected thoroughly and regularly and for components to be inspected before erecting the crane. It is up to the operator the crane to inspect the crane before using, whether the equipment is owned or leased.
Negligent Crane Operation
OSHA requires crane operators to be 18 years old and qualified for the equipment they are operating. Regulations also state that a signal person should be used when necessary. The signal person is a trained individual who is in constant communication with the crane operator via hands or voice and helps guide the operator to safely use the crane. In many crane accidents, no signal man has been assigned or is no where to be found.
Why Do Crane Accidents Happen
The United States has on average, 44 crane-related deaths every year. Crane accidents usually happen at construction sites or in manufacturing jobs. Construction and manufacturing crane accidents account for almost 2/3 of all crane accidents. Common crane accident causes can include improper usage of the crane, wrong crane for the job, improper crane setup, outriggers not fully extended, falling, hazardous conditions around the crane, and high wind or other poor weather conditions. Additionally, adequate training of employees working on the crane, operating the crane, or working near a crane is essential to preventing crane accidents. Proper crane training helps ensure that lives are saved, and injuries are prevented from avoidable crane accidents.
OSHA Standards – Crane, Derrick and Hoist Safety
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has numerous resources (https://www.osha.gov/cranes-derricks) to help contractors and employers keep people safe and prevent crane accidents. OSHA regulations apply to all sorts of cranes and employees like crane riggers who help secure loads. OSHA requires all crane operators to be at least 18 years of age and to be properly trained. Unfortunately, many construction companies cut corners and do not properly follow the standards. Violations of crane safety standards can include but are not limited to the following:
– Improperly setting up the crane
– Failure to use the appropriate type of crane
– Failure to properly clear the lift area of workers
– Not extending outriggers fully
– Failure to operate the crane within its operational limits
– Using the crane outside the manufacturer’s specifications
I Was Hurt in a Crane Accident, What Now?
If you were hurt or a loved one was lost in a crane accident, seek medical attention for your injuries. Even if not seriously injured, it is important to see a doctor and have your medical history recorded and documented. Sometimes in the long run, that knock on the head or concussion can be something much more serious. After getting treatment, you need to contact a crane accident attorney.
The crane accident attorneys at the Willis Law Firm have the experience and knowledge to help you make the right decision for you and your family. Crane accidents are almost always caused by negligence and almost always cause catastrophic injuries or death and they must be kept accountable.