According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), construction accidents are among the most common causes of worker injuries nationwide and among the most catastrophic construction accidents, meaning those with the most devastating effects, are accidents involving cranes.
Crane accidents can happen for any of a number of reasons, but the most common including:
- Contact with live electrical sources – Most commonly, this refers to contact with power lines. OSHA says that nearly 40 percent of all crane-related accidents involve electrocution from contact with overhead wires by booms, cables, or other parts of a crane. Most of the time, the operator is electrocuted, but quite often, other workers who just happen to be working nearby end up with burns or another serious injury.
- Improper Assembly – Crane accidents often occur during the crane assembly and disassembly processes, which must be performed according to exacting manufacturer specification to avoid accidents. These include tests that must be performed in order to gauge the strength and stability of the crane as each part is put into place. That is the only way to reduce the likelihood of an accident. Failure to perform every check required thoroughly can lead to disaster.
- Crane Booms – Booms often collapse, especially if it’s extended beyond manufacturer specifications. This limits the load the crane can handle, which in turn places a tremendous amount of pressure on the crane’s structural, mechanical, and hydraulic components, all of which can lead to a serious crane accident. If a crane boom collapses, not only are operators in danger, but all workers within range of the crane can become seriously injured. OSHA notes that nearly one out of every 12 crane accidents involves a boom that either buckles or otherwise collapses.
- Crane Instability – Another common cause of a crane collapse, this often occurs when the ground below the crane becomes uneven or unstable, thus causing the crane to itself become unstable and tip over. Of course, the crane can also fall over or tip if it has been overloaded beyond its capacity.
One reason crane accidents at work are as common as they are may be because there are about 225,000 of them in operation at any given moment, which means human error and a lack of proper care becomes very important. There are a great many safety requirements associated with cranes, but too often, the workers who use them are in too much of a hurry to bother with them because of the pressure put on them by higher-ups to finish a project more quickly than is necessary to operate safely. Others are just interested in cutting costs and they believe safety costs money, which leads them to fail to train workers properly and not to make sure crane operators are properly certified.
The vast majority of crane accidents are preventable, but failure to train workers properly and to comply with safety regulations increases the risk significantly. When an accident happens, workers and others can be seriously injured, meaning huge medical bills, including the possible costs of rehabilitation and physical therapy over many years, lost wages and other income, as well as retraining, if the victim can no longer work at their previous job. Sometimes, these accidents lead to wrongful death, which means the family has lost a beloved family member and incurred medical costs, funeral and burial costs and the loss of companionship and support of a loved one.
South Texas Crane Accident Lawyers
If you or a family member has been seriously injured or suffered a wrongful death due to a crane accident, you need an attorney on your side with the expertise to look at all the facts and be able to know how to get you the compensation you are entitled to. Please contact the Gutierrez Law Firm as soon as possible, so that we can look at the facts and explore your options for protecting your rights under the law.