Tennessee Construction Injury Law: Crane Accidents
Cranes are widely regarded as one of the most integral, expensive, and dangerous pieces of equipment on any given construction site. Construction accident lawyers at InjuryTN know that if a crane is faulty or inappropriately controlled, not only are companies at risk of missing deadlines and dealing with destruction to property, but there is also a high likelihood that an injury will occur. Injuries caused by crane accidents are frequently disastrous, and sometimes even deadly.
Dangers of Crane Accidents
According to recent reports from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), estimates exceed 200,000 crane operators with more than 120,000 cranes currently in operation. However, operators of these machines are not the only ones at risk of serious injury, every worker on the site is placed at risk when these accidents occur. These potential risks may include the following:
- Crane collision
- Electrocution or electric shock
- Compression Injuries
- Run over by a crane
- Falling objects from a crane
- Falling or collapsing crane
These hazards become increasingly pertinent when construction companies are not able to utilize an appropriate crane for the work being done, fail to properly construct the crane, allow for operation of the crane in poor weather conditions, or allowing unsafe working conditions to form during operation.
Crane Accident Statistics
A recent study from the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) examined accidents involving cranes throughout the U.S. Their findings included some of the following:
- Between 1992 and 2006, more than 320 construction workers had perished in 307 crane accidents.
- Between 2011 and 2017, 297 deaths involving cranes occurred, averaging more than 40 deaths every year.
- The majority of all crane accidents (more than 70%) involved truck or mobile cranes.
- The cause of nearly 33% of all deaths involving crane accidents was electrocution from overhead power lines.
- More than one-fifth of these crane accident fatalities occurred because of collapsing cranes. In the majority of these cases, the cranes’ weights were unevenly distributed, constructed on an unstable surface, were overloaded, or experienced an unsafe load shift.
- Almost 20% of deaths in crane accidents were a direct result of crane booms striking workers, with the majority of these deaths occurring while laborers were disassembling the crane’s boom.
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Rules & Regulations
OSHA has established some regulations and guidelines which govern a variety of practices, like developing a site plan for the construction of a crane, adequate security of cranes for severe wether conditions (i.e. high winds or foul weather), appropriate retraction and subsequent storage of crane booms when not being used, guidance on using cranes which reside within the same swing radius, detailed evaluation of any cranes or rigging in use, and approvals for power lines that are above-ground.
Moreover, it is the job of the contractors or other supervisors to provide funding for certifications or other qualifications necessary for the site’s current use of cranes and other rigs. They will additionally need to ensure all new employees chosen to work this machinery have the correct certifications needed to operate them. Certifications of this kind may take upwards of four years to complete. The ultimate goal here being to prevent accidents involving cranes, especially fatal ones. At the time OSHA developed these regulations in 2010, the federal government expected a 20% reduction in serious crane accidents across the nation.
Sadly, cases do occur in which a crane is designed or produced defectively. In such cases, contractors, supervisors, and workers could utilize every safety precaution under the sun, but it could still result in an accident. In the event that someone is injured, tower cranes could be the subject of product liability litigation if they were poorly-designed, likely to fail, or missing necessary components.
The Crane Manufacturers Association of America has established a set of standards for the safe design and utilization of cranes and hoists. Crane manufacturers are also required to be in compliance with the accepted specifications enacted by both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and American National Standards Institute. These specifications lay out safety regulations for the use of tower cranes as well as other construction equipment, including:
- the use of safety latches on all crane hooks and hoists
- the provision of an electrical disconnect switch for cranes, hoists, and crane pendants
- motion alarms should be installed on all bridge cranes as well as their cabs
- the repainting of cranes and hoist hooks is prohibited
- all new cranes and hoists should have their load capacity tested (125% load capacity required)
- any hoist and hook blocks should have their load capacity clearly labeled
Talk to an Experienced Tennessee Construction Accident Attorney
Our accomplished crane accident lawyers are ready to thoroughly evaluate the circumstances of your case and identify your best plan of action. Contact our office today and schedule your first case evaluation free of charge to talk over your rights. All personal injury cases we take on will incur no costs or fees unless we win.