Common Causes of Crane Accidents

According to estimates by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are about 90 crane accident related fatalities each year in the US. It is important to know the main causes of crane accidents so that workers are better informed about important safety precautions. A little knowledge may prevent a lot of accidents.

Employers are required to barricade the area and train workers about the hazards involved in entering the area when a crane is in operation.

Common Causes of Crane Accidents

Crane Load Accidents

When the maximum weight limit is exceeded while loading a crane, both the buckle and the boom may collapse. Crane tipping and collapse occur when there is overloading beyond the crane’s capacity, or when ground conditions are unstable or uneven. Workers who are within the swing radius of an operating crane can be struck by loads, causing terrible injuries.

Crane Boom Collapse Accidents

Crane boom buckling or collapse related accidents make up about 8% of crane accidents. Improper assembly is one of the major causes of boom collapse accidents. When the crane does not have a proper blocking support to stabilize the load, the unbalanced load causes the crane to collapse which can seriously injure operators and workers standing below. Extending the crane boom beyond the manufacturer’s specifications can affect the crane’s capacity to carry loads, as well as lead to tremendous pressure on the mechanical, hydraulic and structural components of the crane, causing the collapse of the crane boom.

Fall Accidents

Operators who work on tower cranes climb extensive ladder systems to reach the crane operator cab. Wind conditions or unstable platforms can lead to fall accidents if the employers fail to provide proper safety belts, harnesses, and adequate guardrails and secured steps at the site.

Mechanical and Electrical Accidents

Crane booms, cables or other parts of the crane can come into contact with a live power line while under operation, electrocuting the operator if the active power lines are not shut off while work is in progress. Electrocution from contact with overhead power lines is a leading cause of crane related accidents. Crane operators and workers in the crane basket should be made aware of the placement of power lines surrounding the worksite. Mechanical failures can also cause serious accidents if crane components are not oiled on a regular basis, or if components that get excessive wear are not repaired and replaced when needed.

Lack of Proper Employee Training

Crane operators who do not have the proper training in crane operation and safety procedures are unable to recognize when the crane has reached its maximum loading point or whether conditions on the ground are ideal for hoisting activities. This can lead to serious crane accidents and even death. Lack of proper training is both a primary and secondary cause in crane accidents. Employees should be trained and should attend the OSHA safety courses specifically related to crane operations.

Incompetent Inspections

Inspectors sometimes fail to carry out a thorough inspection of a crane before approving it. Employers who are in a hurry to get their job done may look the other way. This kind of attitude toward safety procedures can be fatal. Timely and consistent inspections by experienced and well-trained inspectors can prevent many tragic accidents.

Dervishi Law Group, P.C.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crane accident due to someone else’s negligence, you need a qualified personal injury attorney by your side. A qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer can help you deal with the insurance companies and secure compensation from the responsible parties. Call us at (718) 484-4757  or (917) 496-8342 or email us at