What you should know about Georgia crane accidents

Workers in construction and other industries can be hurt or killed in crane accidents.

The recent tragic death of a crane operator at Augusta's International Paper plant has brought state-wide attention to the issue of crane accidents. That accident involved a crane operator who lost his life after falling from the cab of the crane. Though the investigation into the incident is ongoing, there was severe weather in the area that may have caused the cab to come off its seating track atop the crane, resulting in the fall. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident: crane accidents result in many injuries and deaths across the country each year. In fact, our firm recently resolved a crane accident case for $4,000,000.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that an average of 71 fatal injuries occur each year relating to cranes, hoists and derricks in the construction industry alone. Now consider that, again according to OSHA data, there are approximately 125,000 cranes at use in construction and another 100,000 in general services, maritime and other industries, and the potential for accidents increases exponentially.

Closing the "human error" loophole

As many as 90 percent of crane accidents are estimated to be the result of human error (oftentimes on the part of the operator). This may have something to do with the fact that there are no standardized licensing procedures or criteria for crane operators. Back in 2010, OSHA first recommended educational, testing and licensure protocols for crane operation, and their proposed measures were initially set to go into effect by the end of 2014. However, implementation of the training and testing rules was pushed back to 2017. Until that time, it is up to employers to ensure that crane operators are trained on operating procedures and are compliant with state- and federal-level safety guidelines on job sites.

Of course, there are some instances in which a crane accident isn't the fault of the operator at all. This could be the case if a design or manufacturing defect resulted in an unsafe crane component, if a load was improperly secured by another person, poor maintenance, if the crane tipped over, or if the platform on which the crane was placed collapsed.

Common types of crane and hoist-related accidents

It is relatively uncommon for a crane operator him or herself to be killed after falling from a crane (even a tower crane) unless the crane itself also collapses. Even in those instances, however, injuries are more common than fatalities. More often, crane-related accidents involve:

  • Injuries to coworkers or passersby caused by falling loads/objects that were either improperly loaded or shifted while in transit
  • The boom of the crane or the dangling load itself striking someone on the ground, on a different part of the jobsite (on a scaffold or partially completed construction, for example) or in nearby structure
  • Being trapped underneath the crane or the load in the event of a platform collapse or if the crane overturns
  • Electrocution or burn injuries if the crane comes in contact with power lines

For more information about possibly bringing a legal claim for compensation related to a crane accident, contact the Atlanta law office of Law and Moran, Attorneys at Law. You can call the firm at 404-814-3700 or send an email.