Crane Accidents and Electrocutions
Crane Accidents and Electrocutions Causes of Injury and Death for Workers
Each year, hundreds of U.S. construction workers die on job sites. Many injuries and deaths involve heavy equipment and accidental contact with electrical wires. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), factors such as poor site design, improper use of equipment, and simple inattention often lead to severe injuries and death.
Electrocutions cause one of every ten construction worker deaths, the third leading cause of work-site fatalities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, crane accidents in general industry and construction account for an average of 71 deaths each year.
Data from the NIOSH National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) Surveillance System indicate that approximately 450 work-related electrocution deaths occur annually in the United States.
It isn’t only workers, bystanders are also injured and killed by crane accidents. When accidents occur, the crane operator/rigger, the construction company, and the property owners can be liable for damage and injury.
Joe Lyon is a highly rated Occupational Negligence Attorney and catastrophic injury lawyer representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of civil litigation claims.
Common Causes of Crane Accidents
Mobile cranes are involved in most overhead power line fatal incidents. Almost 50 percent of mobile crane accidents involve electrocution, resulting from cranes touching power sources during operation.
The Center for Construction Research and Training conducted a study that identified common causes of crane accidents. The incidents most commonly occurred due to the following:
- Accidental Contact with Power Lines: The majority of crane accidents are caused by contact with overhead power lines. Crane booms hit live power lines, electrocuting the crane operators, and other workers nearby.
- Improper Crane Assembly/Disassembly: Before operating a crane, tests are meant to be performed to gauge the stability of heavy equipment. Accidents also occur with a lack of communication among the workers involved.
- Crane Boom Collapse: Overloading a crane beyond capacity can lead to failure of the structural components of the crane. Crane boom collapse accidents make up about 20 percent of crane-related injuries. Up to 80 percent of all crane collapses are attributed to operators exceeding the crane’s operational capacity.
In addition, some machines are not maintained or inspected regularly to ensure safe operation, and operators often do not have the necessary qualifications to operate each piece of equipment safely.
Which Occupations are Most at Risk?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that construction laborers are at the greatest risk for suffering crane-related injuries, electrocutions and deaths. Workers commonly involved in related accidents include the following:
• Crane and tower operators
• Supervisors and managers
• Truck drivers
Where do Crane Accidents Occur?
More than half of crane-related electrocutions occurred in the construction industry. Crane-related incidents are most common in private construction; however accidents also occur in highway and street construction, bridge construction, manufacturing and mining facilities.
Overhead cranes represent the type of crane involved in the majority of fatalities. Mobile cranes, truck cranes, and rail-mounted cranes also create a hazard if not operated properly.
Employer and Worker Precaution
Accidents are almost always preventable. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that employers take several careful measures to protect workers and operators of cranes and other boomed vehicles from contacting energized overhead power lines.
The institute’s historical findings show a consistent lack of worker and supervisor training, lack of jobsite safety plans, lack of adequate crane inspections, and lack of proper investigation and reporting of crane accidents and fatalities.
Compensation for Victims of Unsafe Construction Sites
Crane accidents are often the direct result of professional negligence, and up to 90 percent of crane accidents are due to human error.
With 130 million U.S. workers and only 2,200 OSHA inspectors, construction companies have a responsibility to create a safe workplace, provide adequate safety training and ensure that all equipment is in proper working order.
Unfortunately, some employers sacrifice the safety of their employees for profit and put people’s lives at risk. As a result, victims and families have been compensated millions of dollars for injuries and pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a construction or crane accident and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions
After two hip replacement surgeries, I was informed that one of the prosthesis was the DuPuy Joint and the other was very similar but manufactured by a different company. After several attempts to contact the manufacturer directly to discuss the claim, I was met with bureaucratic red tape that appeared to be insurmountable. I then turned to Joe Lyon of the Lyon Law Firm who immediately cut through the pro I highly recommend Joe if you are faced with the need for this type of litigation.Tim Ross
I met Joe during what was easily one of the worst times of my life. My husband had been in a serious accident and was a quadriplegic following that accident and remained in one medical facility after another until his death nearly four years later. We had contacted an area attorney who told us we absolutely did not have a case. Then we called a Cleveland firm that took the case and brought in Joe. Joe did so much of the work and became just like family to us. I would highly recommend Joe to anyone and be willing to guarantee that he will do anything and everything possible to get satisfactory results. He is extremely dedicated to his clients and very hard working. Mike and I came to think of him like a son, I still do; if it wasn’t for him I don’t believe our case would have been settled the way it was and may have ended up in a courtroom where the results can go any way.Donna Urchak