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Crane Accidents — What Causes Them and How Can They Be Prevented?

Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019 at 2:34 pm by Williams Hart   |  Updated: Tuesday, August 13th, 2019 at 9:18 am    

Nearly three weeks have passed since an out-of-service crane collapsed on top of a local Dallas apartment building during an overnight storm, killing one and injuring many others. Bigge Crane & Rigging, one of the largest and longest-established companies in the industry, made a statement that the crane collapsed due to reported storm winds that reached 75mph on the night of the accident.

Just 8 days after the toppled crane ripped through the Elan City Lights apartment building, another storm overturned a crane located in a residential neighborhood in Irving, TX. Officials stated that high storm winds, again, caused the crane to tip over. Fortunately no injuries were reported. 

In the aftermath of these incidences, experts have started a conversation on what could, and should, have been done to prevent them. 

Former federal crane accident investigator Thomas Barth stated that “High winds blew it over backwards, and these cranes are able to withstand winds up to 140 mph”. 

“Was it installed properly?” He asked.

Where does the responsibility lie?

For those who are suffering injuries–or worse, the loss of a loved one–related to a crane accident, these unanswered questions linger in the shadow of every unmanned machine left to teeter in the wind. 

What are the major causes of crane accident injuries? 

Whether your apartment building is under renovation or you’re closing in on the end of your shift as an operator, it’s important to understand what can happen when a crane is not inspected, maintained, or used properly. 

According to the Occupational Safety Hazard Association (OSHA), the following list are some of the major causes of crane accident injuries: 

  • Contact with powerlines
  • Hook-lifting device failures
  • Improperly trained crane operators
  • Dropped loads
  • Failing to comply with manufacturer safety precautions
  • Rigging failures

While the cases presented above are still under investigation, the crane collapse likely occurred due to parking the machine on unlevel ground. 

How can future crane accident injuries be prevented?

In 2010, OSHA issued an updated list of standards related to the use of cranes and derricks in construction. They include:

  • Pre-erection inspection of tower crane parts.
  • Use of synthetic slings in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions during assembly and disassembly.
  • Deeper assessment of ground conditions.
  • Training, qualification, and certification of crane operators.
  • Improved procedures for working in the vicinity of power lines.

These recent accidents are a reminder that construction site managers and crane operators must continue implementing measures such as adhering to safety inspection policies that would further reduce workers’ exposure to potentially fatal hazards.

Occupational injuries and fatalities in the construction industry are especially difficult, both for the victims and their families. Fortunately, there are lawyers who specialize in work-related injury cases and can help you get the justice that your family and loved one deserve.

If someone you love was seriously hurt or killed in an accident, you may be unsure of where to turn. The attorneys of Williams Hart have experience helping people through the aftermath of catastrophic accidents, and we can help you too. Contact our law firm at (713) 352-7071 to speak with an experienced lawyer today.

Note: We report on the types of accidents and injuries our law firm has experience handling. Our hearts go out to victims of the accidents described on this blog, and we hope that future accidents, injuries, and deaths can be prevented. These posts are gathered from recent stories in the news. As new developments occur, these stories are often updated. If information contained within this article is false or outdated, please contact us so we can include the new information or make a correction.

Disclaimer: Williams Hart hopes that by showing how often catastrophic accidents occur, we can begin a conversation about how to reduce or prevent them. We sincerely hope that the articles on our blog arm readers with the information needed to avoid being involved in such accidents. Content on this blog should not be construed as legal advice.

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