Crane accidents endanger workers' lives

Statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that in one 14-year period in the United States, 323 construction workers died in 307 separate incidents involving cranes.

Those figures average out to a rate of 22 construction worker deaths each year. There were four kinds of cranes that were responsible for the majority of the crane-related fatalities.

-- A whopping 71 percent of fatalities occurred with truck or mobile cranes.

-- Five percent of the deaths happened with tower cranes.

-- Four percent of the total deaths occurred with barge or floating cranes.

-- Another 4 percent died in incidents involving an overhead crane.

The vast majority of workers died from electrocution after coming into contact with a power line. The next largest category was comprised of those who died when a crane collapsed. In third place was those who were fatally injured by the jib or boom of a crane.

Still other workers on the ground died from electrocution when they came into contact with an energized crane that had struck a power line. Another fatal hazard was overloading the crane's payload, which can make the boom unstable and shift, causing the load to drop on those working in close proximity to the heavy equipment.

If you are working on an Omaha construction site, the company owner, foreman and safety man have a duty to identify and correct any hazards that can jeopardize construction workers' lives and well-being. If a job site is cutting corners by shirking their safety responsibilities, injured workers have the right to pursue workers' compensation claims and litigation in order to make them whole again as much as is possible.

Source: The Center for Construction Research and Training, "Crane-Related Deaths in Construction and Recommendations for Their Prevention," accessed June 17, 2016

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