In a city with as much high-rise construction as New York City, crane accidents pose serious threats to construction workers and the public. Nationwide, crane accidents are a leading cause of construction site accidents and according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), crane accidents are responsible for about 50 deaths in the U.S. every year. According to the Bureau of labor Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, 72 crane related occupational fatalities occurred in 2006. In 2012 alone, New Yorker’s saw 5 serious crane accidents that claimed 2 worker’s lives and caused 13 injuries.
Crane accidents generally result in tragedy based on the nature of the work and machinery involved. The most frequent causes of crane accidents at construction sites are a lack of communication, lack of training, and structural instability.
Lack of communication is a frequent cause of crane accidents because the point of operation is usually some distance from the cranes operator or not in full and direct view of the operator. This distance increases the likelihood that direct communication gets lost in translation. 90% of crane accidents occur due to human error; communication issues account for a significant portion of that figure.
Instability is another leading factor in serious crane accidents. Crane accidents, often collapses, due to instability are seen mostly with mobile cranes where load capacity is exceeded, loads are not properly secured, or the ground where the crane was positioned was is level or is too soft for the intended weight. 80% of all crane accidents when instability is at issue are attributable to operator’s exceeding the crane’s operational capacity.
Cranes are always employed at elevated heights. Frequently they have the potential to make contact with a power source like a power line or generator. Sounds like an easy issue to navigate and avoid. Yet, surprisingly, 45% of all mobile crane accidents involve electrocution that results from the crane contacting a power source during operation. Care needs to be taken to make sure that the crane operator is well aware of any live power sources and what the consequences are if the any part of the crane impacts the power source.
In 2010 OSHA issued new standards covering the use of cranes in construction. The significant number of injuries and fatalities associated with the use of cranes and the considerable technological advances in equipment since the publication of the old rule, issued in 1971, led to these new standards. It is vital for worker safety that owners and contractors at construction sites take every safety precaution necessary to protect their workers from the inherent dangers of working with cranes.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a crane accident or any type of accident on a construction site, you need to contact experienced construction accident lawyers. Block O’Toole & Murphy is a boutique law firm that prides itself on providing focused attention to our clients and their cases. Our trial lawyers have consistently obtained some of the largest construction accident verdicts and settlements for injured workers in New York State. You can learn more about the firm and some of our success stories at our website at www.blockotoole.com.