A construction team was working through the afternoon last week in the small town of Waite Park, near St. Cloud, when they heard a yell and a crash. The crane operator had been attempting to move a light pole when the entire crane tipped over with the worker still inside. His coworkers rushed to his aid and found him with a head injury but still responsive. He was taken to a local hospital and survived. As often happens with these types of accidents, the cause for the accident is unknown.
Crane accidents are extremely dangerous for construction workers. Crane incidents in 2015 led to 190 fatalities total. No other construction equipment has the capability to cause as much damage as a crane. Cranes lift and transport heavy loads and can be lethal when they fall over due to their sheer size and weight. Not only can a crane injure the operator but anyone else in the machine’s path. In big cities such as Minneapolis massive cranes are required to get to the top of the buildings and those can be especially hazardous, requiring skilled workers.
A big influx of crane accidents occurred after 2005 when the construction industry boom happened. Two years later Minnesotans became required to have certification for operating a crane with the capacity of 5 tons or more. Yet even with well experienced crane operators, accidents still occur.
Accidents are not typically operator related
It can be hard to pinpoint the reason why an accident occurred with machinery. Sometimes a crane accident can be due to operator error, but more often it is due to other circumstances. Other common factors for crane accidents include:
- Problems during the dismantling, erection, or extension of the crane
- Bad weather conditions
- Foundation problems
- Machine or structural issues
In a study conducted by the Health and Safety Executive, the most common reason for crane accidents are due to issues with dismantling, erection, or extension of the crane. This indicates that tower cranes are more susceptible to problems with these actions. Between lifting/fitting heavy parts together in a certain order and the added stress of heavy weight, the smallest mistake can result in a massive accident.
The second most common reason for crane accidents were reported as an “unknown cause.” Some possible reasons could be due to work environment. As most construction workers will tell you, the work is hard and hours are long. Not only are demands high but when job deadlines get behind, safety measures can get neglected. Between exhaustion and ignored safety measures, mistakes will happen. And even a tiny mistake can be deadly.
What happens if you are injured in a crane accident?
If you are injured in a crane accident then you can file a workers’ compensation claim. Here are some factors to consider about the accident:
- Did the crane malfunction or have any electrical problems?
- Were there any structural issues on the work site that could have caused a tip?
- Were the correct safety measures in place for the job?
There are a lot of elements to consider about a crane accident and an experienced attorney can help you get the most out of your claim.