Need-to-Know: Crane Accidents in the Construction Workplace

In New Jersey in April 2017, a company was fined by federal labor authorities after a terrible crane accident that led to a man’s death. The man was pronounced dead at the scene after a strap gave way and a generator being hoisted by a crane fell on him, his injuries killing him hours later. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined the company $9,000 for failing to properly instruct their employees and failing to ensure that the materials would not be displaced from the crane. Unfortunately, accidents like this happen every year in the construction industry, despite the fact that they can be prevented.

OSHA claims that more than 250,000 crane operators and other workers in the U.S. are at risk of serious or fatal injuries due to accidents involving cranes. OSHA looked into the construction industry and found that there are approximately 71 fatalities every year due to crane-related accidents. The risk has become imminent and public awareness has been heightened over the years due to crane accidents in huge cities like San Francisco and Las Vegas across the country. Not only are workers at risk, but also members of the general public!

Common Causes of Crane Accidents 

Some of the common causes of these accidents include:

  • A crane being improperly maintained
  • Mechanical failure
  • Inadequate training of workers
  • Dropped or swinging loads
  • Improper load capacity

Who Can be Held Liable?  

Crane accidents are preventable, which means that they should not happen in the construction workplace under any circumstance. This means better training of employees by employers, ensuring that cranes are fit for loads, and emphasizing the importance of communication in the workplace.

Typically, crane operators are at fault for these accidents because they failed to use reasonable care. If operator error was to blame, then usually liability is directly on the company that employed the operator. If worker carelessness or improper warnings took place, the construction site could be held liable for your injuries. If the crane was defective, it could fall on a manufacturer. In any case, if you have been injured, the best thing you can do is speak to an experienced attorney who understands workplace injuries. We have experience in construction injuries and can help you every step of the way. In many cases, you will be eligible for workers’ compensation as well as other benefits. Call us today for more information.