Crane accidents rarely end well. Usually they end with catastrophic consequences including death, serious injury and significant property damage. As a result, construction cranes in New York have been a source of safety concerns and intense scrutiny, particularly in recent years. Most recently, strong wind gusts from Hurricane Sandy caused a crane to collapse in Midtown Manhattan in October 2012. In 2008 two giant rigs collapsed within two months of each other in Manhattan, killing a total of nine people. Another crane fell and killed a worker in April 2010 at a construction site for a new subway line. These accidents led to new safety measures issued by OSHA in 2010 requiring more safety inspectors and expanding training requirements and inspection checklists. Specifically, beginning in 2014, all construction-crane operators must be certified by an OSHA credited crane operator testing facility. (For a complete overview of the 2010 Crane safety rules go to http://www.osha.gov/FedReg_osha_pdf/FED20100809.pdf)
Below are some safety tips recommended by OSHA related to crane operations:
- Cranes are to be operated only by qualified and trained personnel.
- A designated competent person must inspect the crane and all crane controls before use.
- Be sure the crane is on a firm/stable surface and level.
- During assembly/disassembly do not unlock or remove pins unless sections are blocked and secure (stable).
- Fully extend outriggers and barricade accessible areas inside the crane’s swing radius.
- Watch for overhead electric power lines and maintain at least a 10-foot safe working clearance from the lines.
- Inspect all rigging prior to use; do not wrap hoist lines around the load.
- Be sure to use the correct load chart for the crane’s current configuration and setup, the load weight and lift path.
- Do not exceed the load chart capacity while making lifts.
- Raise load a few inches, hold, verify capacity/balance, and test brake system before delivering load.
- Do not move loads over workers.
- Be sure to follow signals and manufacturer instructions while operating cranes.
We must continue to stress the importance of safety and accountability. The focus must remain on maintaining a safe workplace so that workers can do their job and go home to their families. We also must be vigilant about holding those that fail to adhere to safety laws accountable. Lives are at stake here.
Block O’Toole & Murphy, LLP is a law firm that specializes in protecting the rights of injured construction workers involved in crane accidents. The firm routinely recovers significant verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured workers.
If you or a loved one was involved in a crane accident or a was injured at a construction site, please contact one of our experienced trial attorneys at 212-736-5300. In addition, we encourage you to review our firm website at www.blockotoole.com.