The construction industry operates approximately 125,000 cranes nationwide. While useful, these machines are one of the most dangerous used on construction sites. In fact, from 2011 to 2015, cranes caused an average of 44 fatal injuries each year. A significant portion of these fatal occupational injuries occurred in Florida. Almost all of them were preventable.
Cranes are mechanically complex and susceptible to a number of issues. Specifically, cranes can tip over, experience boom errors, and lose control of hoisted loads. In addition to these failures, some of the most common causes of crane accident injuries are as follows:
- Cranes colliding with buildings
- Cranes coming into contact with power lines
- Cranes hitting people with heavy materials and objects
- Heavy materials and objects falling from cranes
- Mechanical failures (including hook-lifting device errors and boom collapses)
- Hazardous conditions or debris
- Unsafe weather conditions
- Improper crane selection or set-up
- Failure to follow safety guidelines and operating instructions
- Operator error (often due to insufficient training)
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While a seldom few accidents are unavoidable, most can be prevented. The United States Department of Labor (OSHA) has compiled an extensive series of safety guidelines for the use of cranes and derricks. OSHA’s recommendations include:
- Practicing proper assembly and disassembly strategies (i.e. keeping pins in-place and locked until sections are blocked, secure, and stable)
- Inspecting crane and crane controls before use
- Inspecting rigging prior to use
- Barricading accessible areas within the crane’s swing radius
- Ensuring cranes are operated only by qualified and trained personnel
- Operating cranes on a firm, stable surface
- Keeping cranes level
- Maintaining a 10-foot distance from all power lines
- Paying attention to load charts and following all manufacturer instructions
- Ensuring the load capacity is not exceeded
- Testing load balance, capacity, and brake system before delivering loads
- Avoiding the movement of loads over workers
- Following signals
If your employer does not follow the above safety recommendations or give you enough time to do so yourself, they are likely violating OSHA standards. As such, you should be able to hold them liable for their actions.
Many crane accidents are fatal and even the ones that aren’t fatal frequently result in serious injuries. If you have lost a loved one or been harmed due to negligent behavior on a construction site, contact our crane injury attorneys today. At Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A., we put 6 decades of experience to work to help you get a favorable outcome. While we can’t go back in time and prevent the accident, we can maximize your chances of being compensated for medical bills, missed work, and pain and suffering.
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