Crane Accident Construction Attorneys
Ever since construction workers have been using modern cranes to lift, lower and move heavy materials at construction sites, accidents involving cranes have been making the front pages of newspapers around the world. These large machines can be very dangerous. Today, there are no less than a dozen different types of fixed and mobile cranes, such as the Sidelifter, floating crane, tower crane and the Gantry crane, and each one is highly specialized for certain tasks. Sometimes, crane operators who are familiar with one type of crane attempt to operate another type of crane, resulting in catastrophic accidents.
In one case, an inexperienced crane operator failed to understand the length of his crawler crane’s boom (i.e., arm), and as he was off-loading a 20-ton steel slab the load shifted, causing the boom to twist and collapse. The accident killed two construction workers standing 30 feet away.
Crane operators should know their crane’s “rated loads” (magnitude of load permitted to be lifted), and generally these rated loads are about 75% of the crane’s “tipping load” (the weight that, if lifted, will cause the crane to tip over). Factors like soft soils, high winds or an over-stressed pedestal base can cause a crane to tip or fail unexpectedly.
Tipping is not the only crane accident which can injure or kill workers. Cranes can snag power lines and cause electrocution (both to the operator and nearby workers). Loads being lifted or lowered can become unstable and fall. Crane arms can accidentally brush nearby buildings, causing debris to strike workers. OSHA has tried to mitigate these risks by requiring cranes to be inspected prior to each and every use by a “competent person”, but still accidents happen.
In 2008 the Associated Press completed a study that discovered several shortcomings in construction crane operations. The study found that in 35 U.S. states, crane operators do not need to be licensed. Moreover, cities and states had widely varying regulations governing construction cranes, and some of the federal guidelines being relied upon are over 40 years old. In New York City, there are only four inspectors responsible to inspect more than 200 cranes used in the city limits. Each OSHA inspector can only get to about one crane a day, yet safety violations regarding cranes accounted for about 10 percent of the total construction site safety hazards.
In the United States in 2007, OSHA only inspected about 23,000 of the country’s four million construction sites, leaving a potentially staggering number of unchecked cranes.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a crane accident at a construction site, contact the construction accident attorneys of Pennsylvania. Our attorneys specialize in accident cases and work on cases throughout Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, Greensburg, Uniontown, Beaver, Erie, Altoona, and Washington, PA. We will perform a free investigation, get the top experts, interview witnesses, and obtain full compensation for you under the law. There are laws in place that protect you in these situations. Don’t wait. You may be owed money.