Crane accidents are common accidents in the maritime, industrial and commercial fields. Cranes are necessary and useful equipment but can be dangerous if operated negligently. OSHA estimates that 1 in 1,000 maritime crane operators will suffer fatal injuries from crane accidents. Many of these accidents could have been prevented with proper safety training and equipment maintenance.
Crane Accidents from Operator Error
Cranes come in all shapes and sizes but all are capable of causing injuries if not used properly. Crane accidents can result from a number of different causes. Most often, crane accidents are a result of either improper maintenance or from negligent operation. One example of negligent operation is called two-blocking. Two-blocking occurs when the operator extends the boom on a crane without letting out sufficient slack in the cable. As a result, the stabilizing weight, called the headache ball, will be popped off by the extending boom. The headache ball can weigh as much as 150 lbs and will easily kill anyone standing below if it comes off due to a two-block. The two-block accident is an easily preventable accident. Competent crane operators should be trained to not make this mistake. Many more modern cranes have anti two-blocking devices that prevent this accident.
Other crane accidents can be caused by not setting outriggers, overloading, not using a spotter, no tag lines, not using radios and driving too fast. Tip overs are commonly reported in work sites due to operator error.
Crane Accidents from Mechanical Error
Another primary cause of crane accidents is faulty maintenance. Cranes are prone to mechanical problems even if the utmost care is taken. When the equipment is neglected, the danger is multiplied. The constant lifting and pulling of heavy loads will cause the crane’s components to wear down. If the components are not replaced, crane accidents will happen. Faulty maintenance can result in loads being dropped unexpectedly. This is dangerous to the workers below. It is the responsibility of the employer or company that is operating the crane to ensure the crane is maintained properly. A regular maintenance schedule with routine checks are essential to prevent crane accidents from mechanical errors.
Seaman or longshore workers who are injured in crane accidents caused by negligence are entitled to lost wages, medical treatment, disability, emotional trauma and pain, and even punitive damages in certain circumstances. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a crane accident, call The Lambert Firm today for a free case evaluation.