Construction sites come with an innate danger, particularly those with cranes on site. Even with the influx of attention on the issue of crane safety, most remain unaware of the extent of the danger that exists.
Over 250,000 crane operators, and an undetermined but staggering number of other workers, are at risk of being involved in a crane accident each year. These accidents include danger posed by cranes, derricks, hoists and hoisting accessories. This is due to having 125,000 cranes currently in operation on construction sites, with an additional 80,000 to 100,000 being used in general and maritime industries. These cranes pose a risk not only to workers, but also the public, with third-party liability cases coming to light after injuries have occurred due to a defective crane or negligence on a construction site.
There are some misconceptions on how these crane-related fatalities occur. While most may imagine a crane coming down onto people, this is often not the case. In fact, electrocution is far more likely to occur while a crane is in operation on a construction site as opposed to crane collapses.
According to a report by The Center for Construction Research and Training, which looked at fatal construction accident data from 1992 through 2006, there were a total of 323 construction worker deaths involving 307 crane incidents. Of those 323 fatal crane-related accidents, 102 were caused by overhead power line electrocutions (32%), 68 deaths were caused by crane collapses (21%), and 59 were caused by a worker having been struck by the crane (18%).
The same report suggests that these findings show a lack of worker and supervisor training, lack of safety plans, inadequate crane inspections, along with no proper investigation or reporting when it comes to crane accidents and fatalities.
OSHA has identified contact with power lines, overturns, falls and mechanical issues as the four major causes of accidents involving cranes, including accidents in which there were no fatalities. Other than accidental deaths, there are regularly reports of “routine” accidents, which result in injuries and damage both to workers and property, including equipment. This can mean lost wages for workers, rising insurance rates and OSHA fines for businesses, and overall a lack of safety for construction workers and the general public.
However, despite these staggering facts, there are five ways construction sites can lower their risks:
The most important aspect to reducing construction accidents caused by cranes is team safety and training. Rather than relying on everyone to know only their own duties, it serves the team as a whole to have each person on the same page by developing a safety plan that everyone is aware of before it is put into place. Having every set of eyes knowing what hazards to look for can help stave off accidental deaths in construction sites and lead to better results as a whole for the employees as well as the business at large.
Whether you were a member of a team that was operating a crane or you are the loved one of a passerby who was fatally injured in a crane accident, we can help. Our team of New Jersey construction accident lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElrow, LLP, have the knowledge and experience to get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 732-777-0100 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with a New Jersey third-party liability lawyer.