There have been numerous crane accidents throughout the United States this past year, which according to experts, shows the need for improvements for federal standards that govern the use of cranes. According to federal statistics, construction is ranked as the most dangerous industry in the United States, representing approximately 20 percent of all work-related fatalities. Construction work is dangerous and when the appropriate safety measures are not taken before using cranes, the risk of injury skyrockets.
Throughout this past year, there have been various reports of fatal crane accidents, including incidents of collapsed cranes in Miami, New York and Las Vegas. These crane accidents took the lives of twelve individuals. An article posted by ABC News suggests that this increase in construction-related accidents can be explained by “a deadly mix of untrained immigrant workers, lax attention to safety regulations and profit-minded contractors who cut corners in all areas from labor to materials.” Workers are feeling increased pressure to speed up production, which consequently causes them to take short cuts.
Claims involving crane accidents usually have the potential for serious damages. Crane operation takes skill, especially when it comes to tower cranes that are mounted on tall structures. Operators of tower cranes cannot see the loads they are lifting and have to rely on other construction workers’ signals and communication to perform lifts. When errors are made, the results are often deadly.
Some of the major causes of crane accidents include contact with energized power lines, under the hook lifting device, overturned cranes, dropped loads, boom collapse, crushing caused by the counter weight, outrigger use, falls and rigging failures. Serious crane accidents can result in any of the following:
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Back injury
When a construction worker survives a crane collapse, the aftermath can still be devastating. Injuries are often permanent and can be life changing. Many times, a construction worker is not able to return to his or her job due to the injury. As medical expenses add up and income is lost, injured construction workers find themselves in a terrible financial position. Virginia workers’ compensation provides some relief to injured workers, but often the amount is not enough.
Employers are obligated to follow standards established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If you or a loved one has been injured in a crane accident in Virginia, contact the experienced Virginia crane accident attorneys at Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas, LLP at 888-907-2631 for our Warrenton office or 800-741-1012 for our Culpeper office.