There were two crane accidents within 30 minutes of each other last month at the New Jersey container shipping port. News coverage was spotty, at least in part because there were no fatalities or serious injuries. The workers in New jersey were lucky. Many crane accidents result in serious or fatal injuries.
Such accidents are not limited to New York City or the United States. Such disasters occur elsewhere with depressing frequency. In fact, crane accidents occur so frequently that there is a website devoted to them, http://www.craneaccidents.com/. Although not all the accidents reported resulted in injuries or deaths, they easily could have been serious – in most instances, only chance separates disasters from minor incidents.
Some of the recent U.S. crane accidents (June-July 2015) reported on the website include:
· A truck carrying a 25 boom lift flipped over in Dallas. The driver was apparently travelling too fast. No serious injuries were reported.
· The collapse of a ship crane injured four dock workers at the Port of Galveston.
· A boom truck overturned in Pittsburgh. Some workers said that they believed the outrigger was not set up properly. The crane operator was sent home and an investigation that includes drug tests is pending.
· Two workers in Columbus, Ohio, suffered serious electrical burn injuries when the telehandler they were using came into contact with electric wires.
· A worker in Pike Township, Ohio, was killed when the truck mounted lift platform he was using to fix a traffic light was hit by a truck.
· A boom truck caught fire in Seattle while unloading roof trusses. The operator managed to escape with no injuries.
· A worker was killed when he fell from the bucket of an aerial lift in San Jose while working on street lights.
· A worker suffered non-life-threatening injuries in Tennessee when he fell from the platform of a bucket truck while working on communication poles.
· A worker died in State College, Pennsylvania while de-rigging a crane. It is thought that another worker accidently pulled out a pin and caused the crane to drop and swing, fatally hitting the worker.
· A hoist collapsed in Boston, killing one worker and seriously injuring another.
· A truck-mounted crane overturned in Austin, slamming into a building. Fortunately, no one was injured.
· A tree trimmer was seriously injured in Pittsburgh when a truck-mounted lift cylinder failed, causing the pole to drop when the worker was using a chain saw.
· A boom truck overturned, hitting a man in a bucket lift. The workers were removing large limbs from a tree when the accident occurred. The worker in the bucket lift suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
· A worker in Hartford, Connecticut was injured when the platform he was working on was hit by a large articulated truck.
· A mobile crane in New York City dropped its load when the load rigging failed and the industrial-sized air conditioner plummeted to the street. Amazingly, no one was hit by the falling four-ton air conditioner. However, around ten people on the ground were injured by debris created when the unit slammed into the building when it fell.
This list shows that all types of cranes, hoists and lifts are subject to failure and accidents, reinforcing the importance of training, inspection and the need to wear fall protection when working on these devices.