Crane Accidents and Electrocutions Causes of Injury and Death for Workers. Ohio workplace injury lawyer investigates the root causes.
Each year, hundreds of U.S. construction workers die on job sites. Many injuries and deaths involve crane accidents and 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 Cincinnati catastrophic injury lawyer and Ohio Occupational Negligence Attorney 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:
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 has 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 in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.