Cranes are necessary pieces of equipment on many construction sites today. They allow structures to be built quickly and in the manner they should be. However, they aren’t without their drawbacks. Cranes have been the cause of countless injuries and fatalities in the last decade. Between 2011 and 2015, there were 11 fatal crane accidents right here in the state of Florida.
Throughout the U.S., 42 percent of fatal work injuries involving cranes occurred in the private construction industry during this same time period. Heavy and civil engineering construction and specialty trade contractors and accounted for the largest number of injuries involving cranes in private construction. At the same time, the manufacturing industry was responsible for another 24 percent of crane-related injury deaths.
Approximately one-third of all deaths involving cranes between 2011 and 2015 occurred in the transportation and material moving occupations. Over half of these victims were crane operators. Another 30 percent of fatalities involving cranes impacted workers in construction and extraction occupations.
No matter the industry or cause, crane accidents are preventable and often result from another person or party’s negligence. If you or someone you love sustained serious or fatal injuries in a crane accident, contact our firm to speak with a West Palm Beach crane accident lawyer as soon as possible. You have legal rights that are better exercised sooner than later.
Federal Crane Operation Requirements
Thankfully, the rules and regulations surrounding the operation of cranes in workplaces have become stricter and more detailed than they used to be. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has several federal rules and regulations that must be followed in regards to the use of cranes. They include:
- Employers must evaluate the environment to ensure that the crane’s swing radius lacks hazards, such as power lines, to help avoid accidents involving electrocution.
- Employers must evaluate the stability of the ground underneath and surrounding the crane to ensure that it can support the weight of the crane itself and the crane’s load without incident.
- Employers must ensure that construction site workers are trained to identify crane safety hazards and crane-related hazards.
- Employers must ensure that all cranes have the necessary
- safety inspections, which include a pre-assembly inspection of tower cranes and rigging.
- Anyone operating a crane must be certified to do so by a qualifying body, and crane riggers must be qualified to complete the operations associated with their tasks.
- Employers must pay for the certification or qualification of their current crane operators and riggers
- Employers must evaluate their crane operators to ensure that they meet specific criteria
- Employers must keep all documentation relating to these evaluations is current
Common Causes of Florida Crane Accidents
Cranes are typically the largest piece of equipment on an industrial worksite. Due in part to their size, more accidents involve cranes than any other piece of equipment. How does such a large piece of equipment malfunction catastrophically? Many accidents arise when cranes buckle or collapse from too much weight. Cranes have strict weight limits that vary depending upon the crane’s size, type, and build. Sadly, too many construction supervisors either ignore these limits or remain oblivious to them, which results in a severe accident. Far too many crane accidents stem from a lack of adequate training or rushed construction jobs.
Crane accidents can happen due to:
- A crane being used for purposes outside of the manufacturer’s specifications
- Swinging the boom or making a lift without the outriggers fully extended
- Workers being struck by an object—for instance, by an uncontrolled hoisted load or crane part
- Improper crane selection for the job
- Inclement weather
- Improper crane set up or maintenance
- Mechanical failure
- Hazardous conditions, such as falling debris surrounding the crane
- Contact with power lines
No matter the cause, most crane accidents are easily prevented if proper safety protocol is followed and workers are adequately trained on how to operate the crane safely. In fact, 90 percent of crane accidents are caused by human error, while 80 percent involve crane operators exceeding the crane’s operational capacity.
Who Investigates Crane Accidents?
Since cranes are machines used in the workplace, OSHA completes publicly-funded investigations of crane accidents. When it comes to the private sector, there are several investigators and rigging experts who focus on crane accident investigation. At the Iscoe Law Firm, our West Palm Beach crane accident attorneys use OSHA investigations and sometimes private investigations to determine the cause of crane accidents, and ultimately who is liable for them.
Who is Liable for Your Crane Accident?
Crane accidents are typically the result of the failure of crane operators to exercise reasonable care on the construction site while operating the crane. Suppose the crane operator was at fault for the accident. In that case, liability is directly on the company that employed the crane operator and also on any parties that trained the crane operator. If the accident occurred due to worker negligence or improper warnings, the construction site could be liable. In some situations, the party that controls or owns the crane could also be responsible. Additionally, with construction companies often contracting and sub-contracting some aspects of a job, liability for the accident may lie with one of those entities.
Call an Experienced Crane Accident Attorney in West Palm Beach Today
Not only are workers severely injured or killed, but innocent bystanders and passersby are also being injured or killed at alarming rates in crane accidents. Injury accidents and fatalities happen with all types of cranes, including mobile and overhead cranes.
If you were injured in a crane accident, an experienced West Palm Beach crane accident lawyer from the Iscoe Law Firm is available to help you get to the bottom of what caused your accident. They can help you determine whether you are entitled to financial recovery for your injuries. Call us today at 800-800-6500 for a free case consultation. We know that crane accidents can happen day or night, seven days a week. As such, we are available to take your call 24/7, 365 days a year.