OSHA Guidelines for Crane Operators to Avoid Mishappenings

In California, there are specific regulations in place to ensure the safe operation of cranes and hoisting equipment to prevent work injuries. Regulations typically require the use of fall protection equipment for workers who are on or near cranes, particularly for tasks such as assembly, disassembly, and maintenance. Only certified operators can handle most mobile and tower cranes in California. This ensures a baseline level of competency. The regulations likely emphasize the importance of planning lifts before they occur. This includes factors like weight of the load, ground conditions, and potential hazards like power lines.

Cranes must be conspicuously marked with units of measure in pounds or kilograms, capacity of the indicating system, accuracy of the indicating system, and operating instructions and precautions. Rail-mounted bridges and portal cranes located outside of an enclosed structure must be fitted with an operable wind-indicating device to alert the operator of high wind conditions. Any defects found during inspections must be corrected before further equipment use, and a record of monthly inspections must be maintained for six months.

Types of Crane Accidents

Crane accidents are common in the construction and manufacturing industry. Nearly 70% of crane accident fatalities occur in the specialty trade, heavy and civil engineering, and construction industries. Even with safety regulations in place, crane accidents can still happen. Here are some of the most common types of crane accidents:

      • The crane arm (boom) collapses due to overload, extended too far, or structural weaknesses.
      • Cranes coming too close to energized power lines
      • Improperly secured loads, malfunctions, or exceeding the crane’s lifting capacity.
      • Slips, trips, or inadequate fall protection
      • Uneven ground, overloading, or improper setup can cause the entire crane to tip over.
      • Struck-by hazards from the load, boom, or jib
      • Transportation mishaps during travel, and structural failures of crane components.
California Crane Accident Attorney
California Crane Accident Attorney

Causes of Crane Accidents

The most recent data on crane accidents from the Bureau of Labor Statistics dates back to 2006, where over a 10-year period from 1997-2006, crane accidents were responsible for 818 workplace fatalities. In 2006, there were 72 fatalities caused by crane accidents, and from 2003-2006, California had 25 fatalities, ranking third in the nation. The most common causes of fatalities were workers or bystanders being struck by falling objects, followed by falls, transportation incidents, and contact with electrical currents.

Cranes are essential in various industries, but they can pose serious risks if not operated and maintained properly. Crane accidents can occur due to various reasons such as exceeding operational capacity, improper crane selection, poor weather, and falling debris. Some common causes of crane accidents include:

      • Inadequate training and supervision of crane operators.
      • Miscommunication between the crane operator and ground personnel.
      • Operator fatigue or distraction.
      • Lack of proper maintenance and inspection of crane components.
      • Equipment failure due to wear and tear.
      • Overloading the crane beyond its capacity.
      • Wind, rain, or snow can affect the stability and operation of the crane.
      • Failure to adhere to safe operating procedures during adverse weather.
      • Errors during the assembly or disassembly of the crane.
      • Inadequate supervision.
      • Miscommunication between the crane operator and workers on the ground.
      • Misunderstandings regarding load handling and movement.
      • Uneven or unstable ground where the crane is positioned.
      • Overhead obstructions or power lines that are not identified or avoided.
      • Improper inspection by government authorities.
      • Inadequate planning for the specific lift and site conditions.
      • Failure to adhere to industry regulations and safety standards.
      • Lack of proper licensing and certification for crane operators.

OSHA found that 45% of crane accidents are caused by the boom or crane making contact with energized power lines. From 2011 to 2017, California had 14 fatal injuries involving cranes. California ranks third in terms of fatal injuries involving cranes from 2011 to 2017, with 14 fatalities reported during this period. Most crane accidents can be prevented by following proper safety protocols and providing adequate training to workers on how to operate cranes safely.

Who Can Be Held Accountable for Crane Accidents

Establishing liability in crane accident lawsuits can be a complex process, often requiring a thorough investigation and understanding of various factors that contributed to the accident. Liability can rest with multiple parties, including the crane operator, the construction company, the manufacturer of the crane, and others involved in the crane’s maintenance and operation.

In the event of a crane accident, several parties can be held accountable depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. Here are some of the key parties that could be held accountable:

      • Construction Company or Contractor
      • Crane Operator
      • Manufacturer or Supplier
      • Site Owner
      • Engineer or Designer
      • Government Agencies
      • Maintenance and Inspection Personnel
      • Subcontractors

The circumstances involved in each crane accident will determine who can be held legally accountable. Legal proceedings and investigations are typically conducted to ascertain the factors contributing to the accident and to determine liability. Crane accident settlements can range from hundreds of thousands of dollars for less severe injuries to millions of dollars for catastrophic injuries or wrongful death.

A California crane accident attorney can advise you on your case and potential legal options, including settlements.

Have Queries About Your Claim? Speak with Our California Crane Accident Attorney

Engaging experts, such as crane safety specialists and engineers, to provide their analysis of the accident and the factors that led to it can be pivotal in establishing liability. If you or someone you know has been involved in a crane accident, it’s important to seek legal assistance from experienced personal injury or construction accident attorneys.

Our California crane accident attorney can guide you through the legal process, help gather evidence, and represent your interests in seeking compensation for damages incurred. Establishing liability in crane accident lawsuits often requires a comprehensive understanding of industry regulations, safety standards, and legal precedents.

Our legal professionals have expertise in handling complex construction-related cases. Call Pacific Attorney today to schedule your free consultation.