Catastrophic Crane Accidents
As much as we would like for some incidents to belong only to the movie industry, there are disastrous events that unfortunately affect many people in real life. A crane accident is one of them. Many of us walk by cranes every day, especially in busy cities. Some may be terrified, and others may be fascinated, but we can’t help but look up at them, as they can ascend so far into the sky. With construction cranes weighing up to 300 metric tons and extending up to 230 feet high, it’s no wonder that accidents with cranes are almost always fatal.
Why do crane accidents happen?
Crane accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, but it’s important to keep in mind that they are almost always preventable. Crane operators, construction workers, and dock workers are the ones that face the greatest danger when being in the same space as a crane. For example, workers can be easily electrocuted if the proper safety procedures are not in place. Since cranes are very tall, they often come close to overhead power lines. It tends to happen when the crane boom, or the crane’s arm, or the crane’s cable accidentally comes in contact with the power lines. The electrical current quickly travels through the cable or boom, down the load line, and will instantly kill the worker. These most often happen with smaller, mobile cranes.
Sometimes, workers need to dismantle the crane boom. This boom often comes in four heavy sections and is held together by strong pins and bolts. There are particular instructions for removing these pins and bolts, as doing so incorrectly can be very dangerous. If they are removed without adequate support, the sections may fall on top of whoever may be below them. They are very heavy, so this can easily be a fatal accident.
If workers do not follow the correct procedure of loading cargo onto the crane, it can lead to a variety of accidents. Materials from the load above can fall straight onto people below, which can be fatal if the load was very high up in the air and if the items were heavy. The entire load can fall if it was not supported and restrained properly. When the crane operator turns the crane around, the load can strike workers if they move it too fast or if the load is too heavy. While loading and unloading the crane, workers can also sustain injury, as these materials can be very large. Finally, if the load is too heavy for the crane, the crane can tip over and cause a lot of destruction. Ignoring bad weather conditions in all these scenarios also plays a major factor.
Crane accident injuries will be catastrophic
Construction workers and those involved in transportation and material moving represent the occupational group with the most fatalities. There are many moving pieces in these industries, and a deadly accident can take place at any time. In regards to crane accidents, there have been 71 fatalities in the nation since 2018, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Fatality Inspection Data.
If a worker was not killed in a crane accident, they may instead suffer a torturous amount of pain. Depending on how they were struck by the crane or crane load, they may sustain an amputation injury. Heavy items may land on their arms or legs, necessitating surgical amputation. That construction worker will now need to learn how to overcome many difficulties in life moving forward. Workers can also face serious spinal cord injuries, which can lead to paralysis, loss of sensation, and chronic back pain. They may have permanent changes in their strength, which may force them to never return to that type of industry again.
Workers can also suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). These occur when there is a hard jolt or blow to the head. A TBI can affect your brain cells and can cause tissue bleeding and bruising, sensory issues, mood changes, persistent headaches, insomnia, and much more. A worker can easily receive a TBI from a crane accident. Other types of injuries include crush injuries, bone fractures, and organ damage.
No such thing as a “freak crane accident”
There are many ways to ensure that crane accidents do not happen, which is why the construction company or person in charge is often deemed as having acted neglectfully after one does occur. For instance, all crane operators are to be certified by a nationally accredited operator testing organization, such as the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators. No untrained employee is to operate a crane unless they have had formal training and completed certification, and the staff overseeing these employees should make sure of this.
When it comes to disassembling crane parts, only trained workers should be doing so – and always under supervision. Employers should also always ensure that trained inspectors oversee the cranes that are to be used. It’s crucial to stay up-to-date with each crane’s maintenance and inspections before each use.
What to do if you were injured in a crane accident on the job
Your employer is always responsible for ensuring that all working conditions are safe. If they fail to do so and you sustain an injury because of it, then you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. If the equipment and crane used were faulty or defective, then you may be entitled to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. After an accident, you must contact your attorney right away so that they can begin to build your case. Your attorney will help put the evidence needed together to prove the pain and suffering you may have endured.
There is no excuse for a crane accident. If you or a loved one was affected by a crane while on the job, you have a right to fight for a settlement for all the injuries and expenses involved. Be sure to speak with one of our experienced attorneys as soon as possible. The crane companies will have their team ready to fight, so you’ll need a lawyer that is familiar with on-the-job injuries and accidents. With offices in Chattanooga, Cleveland, and North Georgia, we’ll answer any questions you have. Call the offices of Wagner & Wagner or complete our contact form today to schedule a free, initial consultation.
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