- March 5, 2023
- Posted by: Dervishi Law
- Category: Construction Accidents, Crane Accidents, Personal Injury
Construction sites are notorious for being dangerous, and the use of heavy machinery is a huge part of that. Cranes are particularly hazardous, and unfortunately, crane accidents are not uncommon. A crane accident can lead to death or serious injury and extensive damage to property. For this reason, it’s essential to understand the causes of crane accidents in order to reduce their likelihood and to understand how to respond to them should they occur. As such, in this blog post, we’re taking an in-depth look at the most common causes of crane accidents and how to prevent them.
As we uncover the various causes and the best ways to prevent and respond to crane accidents, you’ll be able to improve crane safety on and off construction sites.
Factors that Contribute to Crane Accidents
Crane accidents are an unfortunate consequence of constructing large buildings. Understanding what factors contribute to crane accidents can help decrease the number of reported incidents.
Studies have found that operator error is one of the most common causes of crane failure. Inexperienced crane operators, equipment overload, improper handling, and fatigue significantly impact accident rates. In addition, crane maintenance, which includes pre-operation inspections and system checks, is vital for keeping operators safe without fail. It is important to remember that regular servicing and proper training are essential to protecting operators from unintentional human errors.
Furthermore, research suggests that environmental risks such as wind, rain, lightning, and snowfall also play a role in crane operations safety. It is well known that natural hazards can reduce visibility for crane operators, making it difficult to spot potential hazards in their surroundings. Depending on the severity of the weather conditions, cranes should either stay grounded or only partially functional in order to take the necessary precautions if needed. This highlights the importance of preparing for adverse weather conditions by monitoring regional forecasts and adjusting job site schedules when appropriate to minimize risk factors.
Though all crane accidents are preventable with adequate preparation and planning, there are still too many occurrences due to neglectful practices. However, employers can decrease the risk of injury while working with these machines by taking proactive action against potential danger and understanding how it ties into overall crane operations safety. With that being said, switching gears towards examining how adverse weather conditions affect crane operations will reveal helpful insights on how to prevent future disruptions in construction projects.
Adverse Weather Conditions
Adverse weather conditions are a leading cause of crane accidents due to how dramatically they can affect various parts of the job site, including ground conditions, wind, snow, and visibility. Conditions such as a downpour or freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on the maneuverability of cranes and make them much more likely to collapse or malfunction. Adverse weather also makes it much more difficult for crane operators to accurately see their surroundings, which increases the risk of collisions and other types of accidents.
On the other hand, it is worth noting that some crane models are better equipped than others to handle severe weather conditions. Cranes with features such as modern outriggers and effective stabilization measures often have superior performance in slippery or wet conditions. Furthermore, operators with proper training may be able to adequately manage cranes under extreme weather circumstances with fewer risks than those without the proper preparation.
Despite this, adverse weather can still be a source of serious liability at a job site if not managed properly. Even when preparedness and appropriate caution are taken into account, certain uncontrollable environmental elements can easily bring forth risks and hazardous situations. It is then imperative that both management and administration recognize the potential damage associated with irregularities in the climate and create contingency plans to prevent them from occurring.
In conclusion, adverse weather conditions have the potential to be extremely damaging in terms of crane-related accidents. Management teams must recognize this reality in order to ensure safety protocols are properly enforced at all times – both prior to the commencement of operations and through diligent observation during production hours – so that any sign of inclement weather can be accurately evaluated and countered accordingly. Moving forward, it will be essential to explore different ways in which loading practices can help reduce risks associated with adversities in climate conditions.
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the leading causes of construction crane accidents are contact power lines (27%), overturning (24%), and the material falls (23%).
- Crane-related fatalities in the United States occur on average twice per month.
- Over 68% of fatal crane accidents were attributed to inadequate rigging/loading, operator error/misjudgment, or manufacturer defect/failure.
Unsafe Loading Practices
Adverse weather conditions have a significant impact on operational safety and have caused a number of crane accidents. However, it is crucial to recognize that unsafe loading practices can be just as detrimental. Loading materials beyond the capacity of the crane, installing counterweights improperly, improper crane setup, and failure to remove snow and ice from the crane are all causes for concern.
Many experts agree that the greatest risk comes from overloading cranes—a factor cited in 74% of accidents investigated by researchers in a 2005 study. When proper caution is not taken when loading materials, the crane can become unbalanced or cause jamming due to excessive loads. Understanding their equipment’s limitations is essential for crane operators to successfully perform their job safely and correctly. Additionally, they must take special care while preparing the crane for use in order to prevent any misconfigurations or malfunctions.
It should also be noted that any snow or ice on the crane before the operation should be removed as this can negatively impact balance, visibility, and grip. It is considered standard practice among experienced operators to take steps such as installing covers to protect against precipitation build-up during periods of downtime.
While these precautions may not be able to prevent all accidents, they can certainly reduce the likelihood of them occurring due to unsafe loading practices. As such, it is critical that crane operators ensure their equipment is configured properly with appropriately calculated weights and limits prior to operation. To ensure workplace safety, all these considerations and more should be taken into account before moving on to other potential issues, such as design and maintenance concerns.
Design and Maintenance Issues
Design and maintenance issues also have a large role in crane accidents due to the lack of attention paid to safety standards. Not maintaining a crane or not properly constructing one may result in it having serious flaws that result in a collapse or other forms of failure. In the worst-case scenarios, these overlook lead to fatalities. Machines should be checked and fixed regularly to ensure they work well and are safe.
Similarly, problems with the design might lead to the crane being inadequately equipped to handle certain loads that could seriously overload the crane and prompt it to fail. Design and maintenance are two essential parts of ensuring a crane is stable and safe. Even a part that is only partially broken because of normal wear and tear can reduce a crane’s overall capacity. This can make an accident easier since shortcuts are often taken when efficiency is more important than safety.
While awareness about proper design and maintenance of cranes has been raised, there is still a lot of progress to be made in both areas, making them essential components that need to be discussed when discussing crane accidents. To move away from unsafe ways of loading and why they can cause accidents, looking at the other things mentioned above can help you understand what needs to be done in the future to stop similar things from happening because of faulty load capacities.
Malfunctioning Load Capacity
Design and maintenance issues are certainly of great concern when it comes to the overall safe operation of a crane. However, another key factor is reliably assessing a crane’s load capacity. Accidents are likely to occur if a crane is loaded beyond what it can safely lift and hold. Unfortunately, if this faulty assessment fails to be conducted, the work environment can become hazardous very quickly. A study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US showed that around one-third of all crane-related accidents over the course of seven years studied had been caused by exceeding a crane’s weight-bearing limit.
On the other hand, some people say that human error is the leading cause of these kinds of problems, not physical problems with the machines or with the people who run them. It has been argued that with proper training and oversight, proper estimation of a crane’s lifting capacity should not be difficult to do. In many instances, an ill-advised decision may still be made despite safety protocols being followed for measuring weight-bearing limits. This is especially true in dynamic operating environments, which require equipment to be moved more quickly than usual.
Therefore, when examining the causes of crane accidents from a weight-bearing standpoint, it must be concluded that malfunctions and struggles related to loading capacity are both issues worth considering. Poor design features or improper maintenance can easily contribute to hazardous situations being created if conclusions aren’t properly drawn about what loads a particular device can effectively support at any given moment. Though how these problems manifest themselves may vary from case to case, organizations must consider all potential scenarios during risk analyses. Along with this shift in mentality must also come an acute awareness of the unique dynamics at play among different types of cranes and their corresponding parts or attachments that handle various loads.
Provided that preventative measures are implemented in anticipation of any potential miscalculations taking place regarding load capacities – such as double checking measurements, maintaining good communication between involved personnel, and following industry best practices – operators will have a much greater chance of avoiding catastrophic failures down the line when transitioning from one job site to another. As we move further along in our review of situations leading toward crane accidents, let us now proceed to investigate what errors by personnel may also contribute to such incidents occurring on the worksite.
Operating Errors Made by Personnel
It is not unusual for personnel operating errors to be the cause of crane accidents. Human error will always be a factor no matter how thorough an inspection system is. Despite this, most of the time, these errors can be attributed to employees lacking knowledge or expertise in operating cranes and the machinery associated with them.
Most of the time, these mistakes could have been avoided if workers had had better training on using cranes and staying safe. For example, workers who don’t know how to use the controls for moving the crane may accidentally load it beyond its certified capacity, which could lead to a catastrophic failure. Likewise, having an incomplete understanding of crane physics when it comes to things like balance, stability, and load factors can also lead to a misapplication of the crane, resulting in a potential disaster.
On the other hand, several operating errors are beyond the personnel’s control. These include unclear communication between crane operators, supervisors, and other personnel, unexpected outside forces such as weather or ground conditions, and a lack of maintenance inspections despite proper operation. This latter case is especially true when inspections are not done according to the manufacturer’s standards or those set forth by government regulations.
But people still make a lot of mistakes when operating cranes, which is a major cause of accidents that must be taken into account when planning safety measures and safety protocols. Before a person is given the job of running a crane or similar piece of equipment, they must have had enough training on operational procedures and safety protocols to lower their risk and limit any damage they might cause. the risk of accidents caused by operator error. These kinds of safety measures will do a lot to boost worker confidence and reduce the chance of accidents caused by operator error.
Ultimately, insufficient crane inspections are just as integral to avoiding crane accidents as preventing operator mistakes. Very little can be done after a crash has already occurred, which makes establishing effective mechanisms for performing regular inspections paramount in creating a safe working environment.
Insufficient Crane Inspections
When it comes to the most common reason for crane accidents not having enough inspections of the crane is a big one. Unsurprisingly, many crane operators view inspections as unimportant, a waste of time, or unnecessary. Because of this, they often don’t follow the rules or do preventative maintenance that could help reduce the risks of using cranes.
Before using the crane, it should go through a thorough and rigorous inspection process. One argument in favor of this is that having a well-trained technician look closely at all the major parts will ensure they are working correctly and not at risk of breaking. A professional with a lot of experience can also find areas of deep concern that an untrained operator might miss. Studies have shown that accidents can be significantly reduced, if not completely avoided, if cranes are checked regularly and any problems are fixed before they worsen.
But some crane operators don’t agree with this and say that having expensive technicians come in too often slows down work and adds costs without being necessary. In fact, some question whether there is significant evidence proving that inspections actually reduce accidents to start with. These individuals would rather trust the visuals – relying on their experience as long-time operators to notice anything that looks out of place or is malfunctioning.
Ultimately, though, safety should always come first when it comes to operating large machines like cranes. Because the true cost of a serious accident would be much higher than any decisions made about inspection frequency in the short run, employers must make sure their staff members are trained to recognize potential hazards before an issue arises and develop protocols for frequent and rigorous inspections. Once this happens, workers should also ensure these practices are followed so routine maintenance can always help protect from an accident occurring unexpectedly.
Get a Free Case Review From an Experienced Crane Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been involved in a crane accident, it’s crucial to seek legal help as soon as possible. At Dervishi Law Group, P.C., we understand how devastating crane accidents can be and their long-term impact on your life. Our skilled personal injury lawyers are here to help you get the compensation you deserve and get through the complicated legal process.
With a lot of years of experience, our team has the skills and tools to look into your construction accident case and find the people who are to blame. We will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the best possible outcome and help you move forward from this traumatic experience.
At Dervishi Law Group, P.C., we offer a free consultation to discuss your case and answer any questions you may have. With our dedication, compassion, and unwavering commitment to justice, we will fight for you every step of the way.
Don’t wait to seek legal help. Call us today at 917-300-0797 or visit our website to schedule your free case review. Let us help you get the fair compensation you deserve and the justice you seek.