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 Work injury lawyer and Occupational Negligence Attorney representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of civil litigation claims.
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:
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.
Cranes and other large commercial equipment are necessary in a variety of construction operations and tasks. Yet they are involved in a large proportion of workplace accidents and construction site injuries and deaths throughout the country. Crane accidents are linked to fatalities, fall injuries, crush injuries, electrocutions, and tip overs.
The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) notes in an industry report that about 50 percent of all heavy industry fatalities are at least partially caused by heavy equipment, resulting in legal action and crane accident lawsuits.
Cranes, with their extending, rotational arms, are inherently at risk of unbalance and hazardous to workers, particularly when operating around power lines or other large structures. Hundreds of workers in the construction industry have suffered crush and fall accidents as a result of unsafe work environments involving cranes. Crane Accidents may also lead to fatal electrical injuries.
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
• Tree care workers and landscapers
• Truck Accidents
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. In order to avoid such hazards from causing electrocution and even death, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has established standards necessary for appropriate work to be completed at construction sites.
In regards to preventing crane accidents, the OSHA explains that unless lines have been “de-energized and visibly grounded” or standalone, unattached insulating barriers have been put up to prevent contact with the lines, certain criteria need to be established.
Per former OHSA Standard 1926.550(a)(15) established before 2000, several crane specifications include:
Recently, construction safety standards have been updated slightly to include more accurate specifications. Crane accidents are scrutinized more now than ever. Requirements regarding cranes now fall under rules 1926.1400 to 1926.1442:
Heavy Equipment accidents and Cincinnati construction injury events can be prevented. The changes between standards and guidelines from 2000 show how the OSHA is taking more precautions in regards to regulating construction sites. Previously, a clearance distance of ten feet was required, whereas a general clearance distance of 20 feet is now required.
Furthermore, after an employer references the table of voltages and distances provided by the OSHA, he must continue to follow a varying degree of additional precautions in order to ensure that the construction site is adequately safeguarded.
The Lyon Firm is dedicated to representing injured workers in Cincinnati and Ohio. When a Cincinnati construction injury results in a serious condition or death, lawsuits can be filed against negligent employers.
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.
Many workplace accidents are caused by malfunctioning cranes or missing safety components, hoists, and rigging devices. Even the best crane operators can experience serious accidents as a result of defective crane components. Employers are required to maintain and inspect construction equipment like cranes regularly.
The Crane Manufacturers Association of America has standards for the designs of cranes and hoists. The safety regulations for commercial cranes and hoists include the following standards:
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.
Employers and construction site managers have a duty ensure a safe work environment and the safe use of crane operation. All workers must well-trained and protected, and all equipment must be up to code and maintained properly. Workplace safety precautions must be taken into consideration or an employer may be liable for any injury or death that occurs on site.
Electrocutions and other crane-related injuries can be very serious or fatal. However, the majority of heavy equipment accidents can be prevented with basic safety practice. To find out the root cause of a workplace accident, contact a crane accident lawyer to investigate.
ABOUT THE LYON FIRM
Joseph Lyon has 17 years of experience representing individuals in complex litigation matters. He has represented individuals in every state against many of the largest companies in the world.
The Firm focuses on single-event civil cases and class actions involving corporate neglect & fraud, toxic exposure, product defects & recalls, medical malpractice, and invasion of privacy.
NO COST UNLESS WE WIN
The Firm offers contingency fees, advancing all costs of the litigation, and accepting the full financial risk, allowing our clients full access to the legal system while reducing the financial stress while they focus on their healthcare and financial needs.
Serious injuries and accidents often result through no fault of the injured party, yet the injured victim suffers from life altering physical, mental and financial losses. Such economic and human losses can have devastating financial consequences on individuals and families if not properly compensated. Tort law allows those individuals to seek just legal recourse through personal injury lawsuits.
Each year, crane accidents generate millions in settlements and verdicts for victims. Product liability issues cannot be discounted. In many past incidents, industrial equipment has been found to be inherently flawed. If machinery is found to have a faulty design or missing safety components, victims and their attorneys can file suit against large industrial manufacturers.
The legal options will depend on what caused the industrial accident and injury. Crane accident injuries are usually permanent and should be addressed by a lawyer qualified in complex personal injury matters. Mr. Lyon has successfully litigated numerous industrial injury cases and obtained settlements for workers, over and beyond their workers comp.
The Lyon Firm has the experience, resources and dedication to take on difficult crane accident cases and help our clients obtain the justice for the wrong they have suffered.
Experience: Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati Industrial Accident Lawyer. The Lyon Firm has 17 years of experience and success representing individuals and plaintiffs in all fifty states, and in a variety of complex civil litigation matters. Industrial accident lawsuits can be complex and require industry experts to determine the root cause of an accident or injury. Mr. Lyon has worked with experts nationwide to assist individuals understand why an injury occurred and what can be done to improve their lives in the future. Some cases may go to a jury trial, though many others can be settled out of court.
Resources/Dedication: Mr. Lyon has worked with experts in the fields of accident reconstruction, biomechanics, epidemiology, metallurgy, pharmacology, toxicology, human factors, workplace safety, life care planning, economics, and virtually every medical discipline in successfully representing Plaintiffs across numerous areas of law. The Lyon Firm is dedicated to building the strongest cases possible for clients and their critical interests.
Common causes include boom collapse, crush injury, contact with energized power lines, dropped loads, overturned cranes, and counterweight failures.
OSHA has issued standards covering the use of cranes in construction. The large number of fatalities associated with the use of cranes in construction and the technological advances in equipment since the publication of the old rule, issued in 1971, led to new standards. Some basic precautions include:
Quite common. An OSHA analysis of crane accidents in general industry and construction estimates an average of 71 fatalities each year, and hundreds more serious injuries.
Wire failures are the most common cause of crane incidents. Wires can fail due to overloading, fatigue, having a pre-existing defect, or deterioration. This type of accident can cause serious damage, with loads and cargo being dropped unexpectedly from height.