Working with cranes can be a dangerous job. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that an average of 42 deaths happened per year between 2011 to 2017 relating to crane accidents.
Common Causes of Crane Accidents
Cranes are a vital piece of equipment on any construction site, but they can also pose a serious risk to workers and the general public. According to a Center for Construction Research and Training study, there were four leading causes of the 632 total fatal crane accidents from 1992 to 2006.
- Electrocution – 157 fatalities (24.8 percent) due to workers operating or touching parts of the crane that struck an overhead electrical wire.
- Struck By Load – 132 fatalities (20.8 percent), with most involving workers who were either loading or unloading materials onto the crane or workers who were altogether uninvolved in the crane operation.
- Crane Collapse – 89 fatalities (14 percent) due to 81 incidents of cranes collapsing as a result of uneven or unstable surfaces, broken stabilizers or overloading. 51 percent of crane collapses were reported as having an ‘unknown’ cause.
- Struck by Falling Boom – 64 fatalities (10.1 percent) due to boom failure, with more than half of the incidents happening when dismantling the boom.
Holding Those Responsible
After a crane accident, one of the most common questions is, “who is liable?” The answer to this question is not always straightforward, as many factors can contribute to an accident. In general, the company operating the crane, the actual crane operator, any company overseeing the safety of the crane operation on the worksite and the manufacturer are all potentially liable parties.
Company Operating the Crane – The company operating the crane can be held liable in a crane accident if the injured party is not an employee and if it can be proven that the company was negligent in some way. For example, if the company did not provide adequate training for the employees operating the crane, or if it knew about a potential hazard but did not take steps to correct it.
Crane Operator – There are a variety of safety standards that operators must follow to avoid liability, including ensuring that the crane is appropriately configured for the load being lifted, maintaining clear communication with those involved in the lift, and monitoring the load throughout the lift. If an accident occurs and it is determined that the operator did not adhere to these safety standards, the company may be held liable for damages.
Company Overseeing Crane Safety – A general contractor may be liable for failing to oversee the safe operation of the crane or failing to take corrective action that has been brought to its attention, or which it may have had a duty to foresee.
Crane Manufacturer – A crane manufacturer can be liable in a crane accident if the crane is found to be defective in design or manufacture. For example, if the crane’s lifting capacity is not clearly marked, or if the crane’s braking system is faulty, the manufacturer may be held responsible for any injuries or damage that result from its use.
Chicago Crane Accident Attorneys
At Anesi Ozmon, our experienced Chicago crane accident attorneys understand how devastating these types of accidents can be. We have represented many injured victims and their families, and we know the challenges they face. If you or someone you love has been injured in a crane accident, we can help. We will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident to determine who is responsible and hold them accountable.