Cranes are often the largest piece of equipment on a construction or industrial site. They are also the most inherently dangerous. Crane operators are specifically trained and certified to perform their jobs safely but accidents still occur. The greatest majority of accidents involving cranes happen when a crane is used in a way that exceeds its specifications. The most recent statistics available show that Florida was second in the nation, behind Texas, in crane related fatalities with 27 between 2003 and 2006.
Crane types may be divided into three categories which are:
- Tower cranes – Tower cranes are familiar sights on high rise construction projects and in seaports, rising as much as 300 feet into the sky. They consist of a mast and a large rotating and lifting arm. They are designed to lift very heavy loads of steel, concrete, other construction equipment as well as freight containers in seaport operations. Unlike their mobile counterparts, they are assembled on site for long term or permanent use. They perform their task with the use of a rotating arm, or jib, and a trolley and hook block that runs back and forth. The motion of the tower crane is controlled by an operator located in a cab at the conjuncture of the tower and jib. Over 1000 fatalities have occurred from tower crane related accidents since 2000, worldwide.
- Crawler cranes – These are tall cranes with folded lattice arms that are hauled by truck to the site. Once assembled and operating they seem to defy gravity. Although the possibility of one crashing to the ground causing extensive damage and injury does exist most injuries are caused by workers on the ground being stuck by an improperly handled load.
- Hydraulic mobile cranes – These cranes travel independently on either tires or treads and are often referred to as all terrain cranes. They have telescoping arms and generally extend to only a couple of stories. These small cranes are responsible for more injuries than their larger counterparts as they are used more frequently and are often in close proximity to workers.
Other types of cranes include sky cranes which are helicopters used to lift and transport heavy loads over long distances. Floating cranes are used on barges for bridge, dam and port construction. Side lifting cranes are designed for loading rail cars or trucks with parallel hoists.
Cranes accidents commonly occur due to the following causes:
- Exceeding the cranes manufactures specifications or operating outside of its intended use.
- Hazardous weather conditions
- Improper assembly or setup
- Falling or dropped materials
- Operator error
- Lack of safety training
A large percentage of crane accidents are preventable through the implementation of proper safety procedures and adequate training of crane operators and workers who are in proximity of the cranes operation. Human error is responsible for 90% of crane accidents. As much as 80% is due to operation beyond the cranes capacity.
Anyone who has been injured in a crane accident or has lost a loved one due to a crane accident should contact a construction accident attorney to determine if negligence was the cause. An experienced crane accident attorney will have crane accident experts available who are a skilled in the how and why of crane mishaps. These experts are trained and certified by several different agencies including the Crane Institute, the Crane Inspection and Service Bureau (CISB) and the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators. (NCCO)
Crane accident experts will first interview the crane operator, as well as witnesses, for a clear window into what occurred. If a mechanical issue is suspected they will perform a thorough inspection of the equipment, even testing the structural integrity of the metal. In the case of human error, a determination must be made if the fault lies with the operator or was there evidence of an unsafe work site where the injured or deceased was required to work in harm’s way. The crane accident expert’s determination is paramount to the outcome of the case.
The construction accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group will use whatever resources are required in your crane accident, or other construction accident case, to help you realize the monetary settlement that you deserve, for medical bills past and future, lost wages as well as, pain and suffering. If you lost a loved one you may be entitled to compensation for wrongful death. Reach out to Dolman Law Group today for a free professional evaluation of your case by calling (727) 853-6275 now.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652