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The Hart Law Firm

Crane accidents are one of the four major risks for construction workers, but why are they so dangerous?

Ever since you were nine years old, you knew you wanted to be a construction worker. It wasn’t surprising since your father and grandfather both worked in the field. When you were 10, your dad bought you a working toy crane and you were ecstatic. From that moment on, you wanted to be a crane operator.

Although your mother was supportive (as most mothers are about a career you choose when you’re in fifth grade), you could tell she had her reservations. It wasn’t until you turned 17 and got your first job working alongside your dad that she began to seriously voice her concerns. She told your father to look after you and keep you away from the crane.

You initially took this as nothing more than motherly worry, until you witnessed first-hand the chaos of a worksite. Workers were running around with power tools, harnesses and hard hats, and anyone not operating a crane tried to keep their distance from it.

What’s the big deal? It’s just a machine. If you know how to work it, what’s to be afraid of?

Common Crane Accident Risks

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, crane accidents are one of the four major causes of construction injuries and fatalities. In addition to hundreds of minor to severe injuries, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that an average of 70 fatalities occur each year on construction sites due to crane mishaps.

Considering that there are more than 250,000 construction workers nationwide, and countless other pedestrians who can be affected by crane accidents, it is important to know the risks when working with or near a large crane. These unique threats include:

  • Buckling or collapsing. Cranes have weight limits for a reason. To ensure that a crane will not tip over from being unbalanced, limits need to be obeyed. When the maximum weight is exceeded, the crane could buckle or the boom could collapse.
  • Contact with overhead power lines. Electrocution from contact with overhead power lines is a leading cause of crane-related accidents due to the height and maneuverability of the crane arm.
  • Improper crane assembly. One of the biggest reasons that a boom collapses is improper assembly. If the crane’s load is unbalanced or does not have the proper blocking to stabilize the load, it may move, wobble, shake, bend or break.
  • Mechanical failures. Routine crane maintenance should be followed to prevent accidents due to mechanical failure and worn parts.
  • Improper operator training. Operators who aren’t properly trained in safety protocols or lack the confidence needed to adjust operation during times of uncertainty can increase the risk of crane accidents.

Lifting Anxiety by Raising Awareness

Make sure your family, friends, and coworkers are aware of the dangers they face when working with cranes. Construction work is dangerous enough without the added risks of being ill-informed. Use your social media to share this page on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ to help them get the information they need to stay safe. You can also tell them to contact us directly to discuss any potential questions or concerns they may have about a recent accident. Remember, they may not know their risks until it’s too late.

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