Crane accidents are one of the leading causes of death and injury in the construction industry today. There are approximately 125,000 cranes currently operating in the United States construction industry and another 80,000 to 100,000 cranes operating in the general and maritime industries. Approximately 250,000 crane operators, other industry workers, and non-construction working individuals are at risk of suffering serious injury or death in crane accidents each year.
Hundreds of people are injured or killed as a result of crane accidents in the United States every year. Between 1984 and 1994 at least 500 American workers were killed in crane accidents and hundreds more were injured. In 1993 seventy-nine deaths were attributed to human and mechanical errors involving cranes, derricks, hoists, and hoist accessories.
With continual improvements in crane technology, including strength, utility, speed, capacity and reach enhancements, it is vital that operators, site supervisors, and safety professionals stay abreast of these changes in order to prevent crane accidents. A majority of crane accidents that cause serious injury or death are highly preventable occurrences. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a detailed set of regulations that must be complied with in an effort to prevent crane accidents.
An employer whose company is involved in crane operations has a duty to prevent crane accidents. These individuals can be held liable when they fail to comply with safety standards and precautions in order to prevent crane accidents. OSHA states that crane related industries must meet a variety of safety standards. Employers have a duty to eliminate electrocution risks that could cause injury in crane accidents. At least 40 percent of all crane accidents involve injury caused by electrocution from the crane contacting a power source during operation. The employers also have the responsibility to post all information and comply with manufacturer’s specifications and limitations for rated load capacities, operating speeds, hazard warnings, and the like. In addition, there are a number of other safety precautions that an employer must take in order to comply with OSHA standards and prevent crane accidents.
According to OSHA the following are some of the major causes of crane accidents: overturned cranes, rigging failure, boom buckling or collapse, improper assembly/dismantling of crane, falls, dropped loads, and outrigger use. Studies estimate that mechanical failure accounts for eleven percent of all crane accidents. These and other crane accidents are often the result of lack of preventative maintenance, inadequate training, experience and supervision, lack of required inspections, and other negligence factors.
Crane accidents are preventable when crane workers, employers, safety professionals, and OSHA inspectors work together in order to prevent the causes of crane accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in crane accidents, you may wish to contact a well qualified and experienced legal professional who can advise you of your rights and options in a crane accident lawsuit.