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Worker pinned under 7-ton hammer after crane cable snapped

A 41-year-old construction worker was seriously injured at a commercial construction site near 126th Street and 82nd Avenue in Kew Gardens, Queens earlier this month, as reported by New York Daily News. At around 10:20am on Wednesday April 5th, the cable attaching an I-beam to the crawler crane snapped, and the load fell on the worker's lower legs, pinning him underneath it.

The I-beam weighed 7 tons and was being used as a hammer to drill steel sheeting into the ground. When the hammer fell, it got caught with some steel sheeting, which prevented the construction worker from baring the full weight of the hammer.

Firefighters and paramedics rushed to the scene. Using rope and a hoist to stabilize the fallen hammer, firefighters then dug underneath the worker, giving him space to slide out. While the worker was conscious throughout the process, he is reported to be in serious condition and was taken by the ambulance to Jamaica hospital.

We wish him a full and speedy recovery after this traumatic incident.

This accident and other tragic ones highlight the necessity for greater crane safety. Unfortunately, a number of crane accidents that result in deaths and serious injuries happen when the cable snaps and the load falls on workers and bystanders.

In November of last year, there was yet another crane accident in Queens - a deadly one. At around 12:10pm on November 22, an I-beam - this one weighing 6,500 pounds - became loose and fell from the fourth floor of a residential housing complex. The accident resulted in the tragic deaths of two construction workers.

One worker who was an eyewitness described the horrifying scene, "The cable snapped, broke, and two guys got stuck and then got caught in the middle of the beam."

On May 31, 2015, a crane hauling an air condition unit in midtown Manhattan dropped the load, tragically injuring ten people in the process. The fallen air conditioner smashed parts of the building before landing on the ground. The cause of the accident? The cable holding the AC unit broke.

Cranes often need to lift extremely heavy loads. Should the cable holding the load snap, it can result in catastrophic consequences to workers and bystanders, as evidenced by these previous incidents.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets certain guidelines for crane and wire safety. According to OSHA Regulation 1926.1413(a)(1), a qualified person must conduct a visual inspection before each shift: "The inspection must consist of observation of wire ropes (running and standing) that are likely to be in use during the shift for apparent deficiencies...."

In this recent Queens incident, it is unknown if the machinery and cables were properly inspected prior to use. If the employer and other parties were negligent in maintaining the equipment, the injured worker may be entitled to financial compensation for his pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills.

To learn more about accidents on construction sites, visit the Construction Accidents Help section of our site. The injury attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy are experienced in representing clients in workplace accidents and have attained 3 of the Top 5 Construction Settlements in all of New York State in 2016, as reported by New York Law Journal.

If you suffered an injury on the job and would like to speak with an attorney about your options, please call 212-736-5300 for a free, no-obligation consultation.