Cranes are an integral part of the construction, shipping, and maritime industries. Unfortunately, working in or near cranes as they move objects or cargo can be dangerous. Many crane injuries are caused by negligence, often involving improper training or inadequate safety procedures. If you work in the maritime industry near cranes, you should know that you may be eligible to seek compensation if you suffer an on-the-job injury.
At Kherkher Garcia, LLP, our crane injury lawyers are frequently asked about crane injuries and how to get help recovering compensation. Below, we provide answers and discussion on some of the most commonly asked questions, as well as providing helpful information for workers who are, or may become, injured.
FAQs about Crane Accidents and Injuries
Read on to learn more about crane accidents and injuries. If you have questions or an injury, call Kherkher Garcia to discuss your case.
How Common are Crane Injuries?
A study from Konecranes Training Institute provides the following statistics about crane injuries over a 10-year period:
- 249 incidents
- 838 OSHA violations
- OSHA fines topped $2.3 million
- 74% of incidents occurred during routine operation
- 133 injuries
- 133 fatalities
- 37% of all fatalities involved crush injuries
- 27% of crane injuries involved dropping a load
- 12% of injuries were caused by falls
These statistics are just a sample of the danger of working near cranes. Furthermore, statistics highlight the importance of safety procedures and appropriate training and operation.
What are Some Examples of Crane Accidents?
A few recent incidents that caused crane injuries include:
In February 2023, a crane collapsed on a construction site in New York City, killing one worker and injuring four others. The crane was being used to lift a load of steel beams when it suddenly collapsed, sending the beams crashing into a nearby building.
In January 2023, a crane collapsed on a construction site in Houston, Texas, killing four workers and injuring five others. The crane was being used to lift a load of concrete when it suddenly collapsed, sending the concrete crashing into a nearby building.
In December 2022, a crane collapsed on a construction site in Miami, Florida, killing one worker and injuring three others. The crane was being used to lift a load of steel beams when it suddenly collapsed, sending the beams crashing into a nearby building.
What Types of Crane Accidents are Common?
There are several types of crane accidents that can occur in construction sites, ports, and other locations where cranes are used. Some of the most common crane accidents include:
- Overturning: This occurs when the crane tips over due to unstable ground or excessive weight.
- Structural Failure: When the crane’s boom or other structural component fails, leading to a collapse.
- Contact with Power Lines: This can happen when the crane operator is not aware of the location of nearby power lines. This can cause electrocution or fire.
- Load Drops: The crane can drop the load it’s carrying due to equipment failure, operator error, or incorrect rigging.
- Struck by the Load: When the load being lifted swings out of control, it can strike workers or other objects.
- Improper Assembly or Disassembly: When the crane is not properly assembled or disassembled, it can lead to structural instability or collapse.
- Inadequate Training or Supervision: Lack of proper training for crane operators and other workers can lead to accidents.
These accidents can result in serious injuries or fatalities, highlighting the importance of proper safety procedures, training, and supervision when working with cranes.
What are Common Crane Injuries?
Crane accidents can cause a range of injuries, some of which can be severe or even fatal. The specific injuries depend on the type of accident, the size and weight of the crane, and the location and environment of the accident. Here are some examples of injuries that can occur in crane accidents:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): Crane accidents involving falls, collapses, or being struck by a load can cause head injuries, including TBIs.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: These can occur when workers fall from a crane, are struck by a load, or are crushed in a collapse.
- Broken Bones and Fractures: These injuries can happen in a variety of crane accidents, such as falls, load drops, and collisions.
- Lacerations and Puncture Wounds: These injuries can result from being struck by crane components or by sharp objects in the surrounding environment.
- Burns: Crane accidents involving contact with power lines or other sources of heat can cause burns.
- Crush Injuries: Workers can suffer crush injuries when caught between the crane and other objects or when struck by the crane itself.
- Electrocution: Workers can be electrocuted when the crane comes into contact with power lines.
- Fatalities: Crane accidents can result in fatalities, particularly in cases of collapse or electrocution.
Due to the potential for serious injuries or death, it is important to take appropriate safety measures when working with or around cranes.
How Can Crane Accidents and Injuries be Prevented?
Crane accidents can be devastating, resulting in serious injuries or even death. It is important to take steps to prevent crane accidents, such as ensuring that cranes are properly inspected and maintained, and that workers are properly trained to operate them.
The majority of incidents involving cranes are preventable. Here are some tips for preventing crane accidents:
- Inspect Cranes Regularly. Cranes should be inspected regularly by a qualified inspector to ensure that they are in safe working condition.
- Maintain Cranes Properly. Cranes should be properly maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Train Workers. Workers who operate cranes should be properly trained to do so safely.
- Use Only for Intended Purposes. Cranes should only be used for the purpose for which they were designed.
- Follow Safety Procedures. All safety procedures should be followed when operating a crane.
- Be Aware of the Environment. The environment in which a crane is being operated should be considered when operating the crane.
- Be Aware of the Weather. The weather conditions should be considered when operating a crane.
- Be Aware of Others. Other workers in the area should be aware of the crane and its operation.
By following these tips, you can help to prevent crane accidents and keep yourself and others safe.
Who is Liable for Crane Injuries?
Determining liability for crane injuries depends on the specific circumstances of the accident. In general, several parties can be held liable for crane injuries, including:
- The Crane Operator: The operator of the crane may be held liable if they were negligent in operating the crane, which caused injuries to others. Operators can be liable for failure to follow safety regulations, or failure to adequately inspect and maintain the crane.
- The Crane Owner: The owner of the crane may be liable if they fail to maintain the crane in safe operating condition, fail to inspect the crane for defects, or fail to provide proper safety training to the operator.
- The Construction Site Owner or Contractor: The owner of the construction site or the contractor in charge of the job site may be held liable if they fail to ensure that the crane is being operated safely, fail to provide adequate safety measures, or fail to properly supervise the crane operation.
- Manufacturers of Crane Parts: If an accident was caused by a defect in a component of the crane, the manufacturer of the defective part may be liable for any injuries that result.
Determining liability can be complex, and it is important to consult with an experienced crane injury lawyer who can investigate the accident and help identify the parties responsible for your injuries.
Can I Get Compensation for Crane Injuries?
If you are injured in a crane accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the responsible parties to seek compensation for your injuries and related losses. However, whether you can file a lawsuit, and the specific legal options available to you, will depend on several factors, including the circumstances of the accident and the parties involved.
In some cases, the accident may be caused by the negligence or wrongful conduct of the crane operator, the owner of the crane, the contractor in charge of the job site, or other parties involved in the crane operation. If this is the case, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party to recover damages. Damages you may be able to recover for crane injuries include:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Wrongful Death
It is important to consult with a crane injury lawyer who is experienced in handling crane accident cases to determine whether you have a viable legal claim and what legal options are available to you.
Get a Free Crane Injury Consultation
If you have been injured in a crane accident, contact Kherkher Garcia as soon as possible to start exploring your rights and legal options. Our crane injury lawyers will carefully review your case to determine the best options to get justice and recovery compensation.
No matter what industry you work in, or how the accident occurred, there is no obligation to find out more about your rights. Our consultations are completely free. Get started with your consultation by calling us at 713-333-1030, or by completing our contact form.