At any major construction site in New York City, you are likely to find at least one type of crane. Large, fixed tower cranes and smaller mobile cranes alike are used to lift and move large pieces of steel, concrete, tools and other building materials. Construction cranes have built New York City’s skyline.
However, they have the potential to cause fatal accidents and serious injuries if they are not properly maintained or if they are used incorrectly.
Types of Cranes
There are many types of cranes that are used at construction sites throughout New York. On large construction sites, you may find tower cranes or telescopic cranes that are capable of lifting heavy cargo to the top of tall buildings. It is also common to see overhead cranes, truck-mounted cranes, pick-and-carry cranes and even aerial cranes. It takes special training to safely operate these powerful machines.
Causes of Crane Accidents
Some of the most common causes of New York City crane accidents include:
- Buckling and collapsing: There are weight limits for every type of crane. Cranes use counterweights and out-rigging systems to handle a very specific amount of cargo. When an operator attempts to lift weights that exceed its limit, the crane may collapse or buckle.
- Inexperienced operators: Cranes are complicated machines that require skill and experience. No one should be allowed to operate a large crane without proper training and supervision. Employers should make sure that their employees have recently taken Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) courses regarding how to safely use cranes.
- Mechanical failures: It is essential that a skilled technician performs routine crane maintenance to prevent serious accidents. Crane components should be lubricated frequently and worn parts and components should be promptly replaced.
- Improper assembly: There are proper ways to assemble and to set up cranes. When there are inadequate supports to stabilize the load, the crane may tip over or collapse.
- Contact with power lines: Due to their height, cranes can easily make contact with power lines. Operators and workers nearby can suffer devastating electrocution injuries whenever cranes touch active power lines and live wires.
- Dangerous conditions: It is important to know when to halt crane operations because of adverse weather conditions. It is particularly dangerous to use cranes in windy or stormy conditions.
- Defective equipment: Some cranes are simply not designed or assembled correctly. Defective cranes may break even when used correctly.
Tips to Prevent Crane Accidents
The majority of New York City crane accidents are preventable. Simply providing adequate training for crane operators can make a huge difference. It is also important to use skilled signal persons and riggers. There should be a crane safety plan for every lift and each employee involved should understand his or her role. It is also critical that the construction site be carefully inspected for safety hazards before a crane is assembled or utilized. Additionally, there should be a capable overseer of the operations who has the authority to stop work if an accident is imminent.
Facts About Crane Accidents
Due to the seriousness of the injuries and the fatalities that may result from a crane accident, it is crucial to follow all safety procedures and take preventive steps. According to OSHA, about half of all crane accidents in the United States in the year 2009 resulted in at least one fatality. Furthermore:
- About 90 percent of crane accidents result from human error.
- The majority of crane accidents, about 80 percent, are attributed to operators exceeding the crane’s operational capacity.
- Nearly half of mobile crane accidents involve electrocutions.
- On average, 80 workers who utilize lift and material handling equipment are killed each year.
- Over half of all crane accidents involve a swinging boom.
Receiving Fair Compensation
Victims of New York City crane accidents should seek information regarding their legal rights and options. Injured workers in New York have the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits through their employers. A successful workers’ compensation claim can result in support for medical bills and a portion of lost wages. In some cases, it is possible to file a third-party claim against a negligent party such as the manufacturer of a defective crane or part. Other examples of third parties include general contractors, sub-contractors, property owners, etc.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a New York City crane accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options. With more than 42 years of experience, we work tirelessly to help obtain the best possible compensation for injured victims or those who have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence. Our law firm recovered $3,375,576 for a construction worker who was injured on the job – one of the highest construction case settlements in New York in 2010.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
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