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What Are the Most Common Types of Crane Accidents?

by | May 5, 2024 | Construction Accidents

Crane accidents in New York City are a significant concern due to the high volume of construction projects and the complex urban environment. At Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman, we understand the severe consequences these accidents can have on workers and bystanders. Understanding the most common types of crane accidents can help identify risks and implement safety measures.This article explores the prevalent crane accidents in NYC and their causes to raise awareness and promote safer construction practices.

Different Types of Cranes Used in NYC

What Are the Most Common Types of Crane Accidents?

New York City’s skyline constantly evolves, with construction projects dotting the landscape. Various types of cranes are employed to facilitate these projects, each suited to specific tasks and environments. At Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman, we recognize the importance of understanding the different types of cranes used in NYC to promote safety and efficiency on construction sites. Here, we explore the most common types of cranes utilized in the city.

Tower Cranes

  • Overview: Tower cranes are a staple in NYC construction, especially for high-rise buildings. These cranes are fixed to the ground or attached to the building structure as it rises, providing the height and lifting capacity needed for skyscraper construction.
  • Key Features: Tower cranes have a tall mast, a rotating jib, and a counterweight to balance heavy loads. They can lift and move materials to great heights and distances.

Mobile Cranes

  • Overview: Mobile cranes are versatile and can be easily transported to different sites. They are mounted on trucks or crawlers, allowing them to move around the construction site or travel between locations.
  • Key Features: Mobile cranes include hydraulic lifting systems and extendable booms for reaching various heights and distances. They are ideal for projects requiring flexibility and mobility.

Rough Terrain Cranes

  • Overview: Rough terrain cranes are designed for off-road construction sites with uneven or rugged ground. These cranes are mounted on four large rubber tires and have a single engine that powers both the undercarriage and the crane.
  • Key Features: Rough terrain cranes are equipped with heavy-duty tires, four-wheel drive, and outriggers for stability on uneven surfaces. They are commonly used in infrastructure projects and on challenging terrains.

Crawler Cranes

  • Overview: Crawler cranes are powerful cranes mounted on tracks (crawlers) instead of wheels. This design allows them to move around the construction site with ease, even on soft or uneven ground.
  • Key Features: Crawler cranes have high lifting capacities and can be configured with various boom lengths and types. They are used for heavy lifting tasks and in environments where stability and mobility are crucial.

Overhead Cranes

  • Overview: Overhead cranes, also known as bridge cranes, are commonly used in industrial environments, such as factories and warehouses. These cranes travel along rails or beams fixed to the ceiling structure.
  • Key Features: Overhead cranes consist of a hoist, trolley, and bridge that moves along the overhead rails. They are ideal for lifting and moving heavy materials within a confined area.

Floating Cranes

  • Overview: Floating cranes, also known as crane barges, are used for construction projects in or near water, such as bridge construction, port development, and offshore installations.
  • Key Features: Floating cranes are mounted on barges or pontoons and are capable of lifting heavy loads from the water. They are essential for marine construction and heavy lifting tasks in aquatic environments.

What Are the Most Common Types of Crane Accidents?

Crane accidents in New York City are a significant concern due to the high volume of construction projects and the complex urban environment. At Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman, we understand the severe consequences these accidents can have on workers and bystanders. Understanding the most common types of crane accidents can help in identifying risks and implementing safety measures. This blog explores the prevalent crane accidents in NYC and their causes to raise awareness and promote safer construction practices.

1. Crane Collapse

One of the most catastrophic types of crane accidents is a crane collapse. This occurs when the structure of the crane fails, causing it to fall over. Factors contributing to crane collapses include poor maintenance, improper assembly, overloading, and structural defects. The impact of a crane collapse can be devastating, leading to significant injuries, fatalities, and extensive property damage.

2. Boom or Jib Failure

The boom or jib of a crane is the extended arm used for lifting and moving loads. Failures in these components can happen due to mechanical issues, metal fatigue, improper loading, or operator error. When the boom or jib fails, it can result in the load falling, causing injuries to workers on the ground and damage to surrounding structures.

3. Overloading

Overloading occurs when a crane lifts a load that exceeds its capacity. This can cause the crane to tip over, the boom to bend or break, or the hoist cable to snap. Overloading is often a result of inadequate planning, miscommunication, or pressure to complete tasks quickly. Proper load management and adherence to weight limits are crucial to preventing overloading accidents.

4. Dropped Loads

Dropped loads happen when the hoist mechanism fails, the load is not properly secured, or there is a sudden movement or gust of wind. Dropped loads can strike workers, pedestrians, or vehicles, leading to serious injuries or fatalities. Ensuring loads are securely fastened and using tag lines to control the load’s movement can help prevent these accidents.

5. Contact with Power Lines

Cranes often operate near power lines, and accidental contact can lead to electrocution or electrical burns for the crane operator and workers nearby. Proper planning, maintaining safe distances from power lines, and using spotters can mitigate the risk of these dangerous incidents.

6. Crane Tip-Over

A crane tip-over can occur when the crane’s center of gravity is compromised, often due to uneven ground, high winds, or overloading. Proper site assessment, use of stabilizers, and adherence to load limits are essential to prevent tip-overs. Tip-overs can result in severe injuries and significant damage to the construction site and surrounding areas.

Common Injuries from Crane Collapses

Crane collapses are among the most devastating construction accidents, often resulting in severe injuries or fatalities. At Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman, we understand the profound impact these accidents can have on workers and their families. Recognizing the common injuries from crane collapses can highlight the importance of safety measures and proper legal support for victims. Here are some of the most frequent injuries sustained in crane collapse incidents:

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Traumatic brain injuries occur when a worker’s head is struck by falling debris or when they fall from a height during a crane collapse. TBIs can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage, leading to long-term cognitive, physical, and emotional impairments.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are common in crane collapses due to the high impact forces involved. These injuries can result from falls or being crushed by heavy materials. Damage to the spinal cord can lead to partial or complete paralysis, significantly affecting a victim’s quality of life and ability to work.

Fractures and Broken Bones

The intense force of a crane collapse can cause multiple fractures and broken bones, including limbs, ribs, and pelvis. These injuries often require extensive medical treatment, including surgeries, and can result in long-term disability and rehabilitation.

Internal Injuries

Internal injuries, such as damage to organs, internal bleeding, and punctured lungs, can occur when workers are struck by debris or fall from significant heights. These injuries can be life-threatening and often require emergency medical intervention and prolonged hospital stays.

Crush Injuries

Crush injuries happen when a worker is trapped under falling debris or parts of the crane. These injuries can affect muscles, nerves, and bones. Crush injuries can lead to permanent disability, amputation, and other severe complications, requiring long-term medical care and rehabilitation.

Lacerations and Abrasions

Sharp debris and falling materials can cause deep cuts and abrasions, leading to significant blood loss and the risk of infection. Severe lacerations often necessitate stitches or surgery and can leave permanent scars and nerve damage.

Emotional and Psychological Trauma

Witnessing or experiencing a crane collapse can lead to significant emotional and psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. Psychological injuries can affect a victim’s ability to return to work and normal life, requiring therapy and ongoing mental health support.

Common Causes of Crane Accidents

Crane accidents can have devastating consequences, leading to severe injuries, fatalities, and significant property damage. Understanding the common causes of crane accidents is crucial for implementing effective safety measures and preventing future incidents. At Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman, we are dedicated to promoting construction site safety and advocating for the rights of those affected by crane accidents. Here are some of the most frequent causes of crane accidents:

  • Mechanical Failures: Mechanical failures occur when components of the crane malfunction due to poor maintenance, manufacturing defects, or excessive wear and tear.
  • Improper Assembly: Assembling a crane incorrectly can lead to structural instability and increased risk of collapse. This often happens when workers are not adequately trained or when assembly instructions are not followed precisely.
  • Overloading: Overloading occurs when a crane lifts a load that exceeds its maximum capacity. This can cause the crane to tip over, the boom to bend or break, or the hoist cable to snap.
  • Inadequate Training: Crane operators and construction workers must receive proper training to operate cranes safely. Inadequate training can lead to operator errors, improper use of equipment, and failure to recognize hazards.
  • Poor Site Planning and Preparation: Failing to properly plan and prepare the construction site can lead to hazardous conditions for crane operations. This includes not assessing the ground stability, failing to account for nearby structures, and neglecting to mark safe distances from power lines
  • Weather Conditions: Adverse weather conditions, such as high winds, heavy rain, and lightning, can significantly affect crane operations. Wind can cause loads to sway or cranes to tip, while rain can make the ground unstable
  • Human Error: Human error is a broad category that includes mistakes made by crane operators, riggers, and other construction workers. Common errors include misjudging load weight, improper rigging, and inattentiveness.
  • Lack of Regular Inspections and Maintenance: Regular inspections and maintenance are crucial for ensuring the safe operation of cranes. Neglecting these routines can lead to undetected issues that can cause accidents.

Crane accidents are often preventable with proper training, planning, maintenance, and adherence to safety protocols. Understanding the common causes of these accidents is the first step toward preventing them. At Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman, we are committed to advocating for the safety and rights of construction workers. If you or a loved one has been involved in a crane accident, contact us for a consultation. We are here to help you navigate the legal complexities and secure the compensation you deserve. Your safety and well-being are our top priorities.

Who is Liable for My Crane Accident Injury?

Determining liability in a crane accident injury can be complex, as multiple parties may be responsible. At Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman, we understand the intricacies involved in these cases and are dedicated to helping victims secure the compensation they deserve. Here are the potential parties that could be held liable for your crane accident injury:

Construction Companies

  • Overview: Construction companies are often responsible for ensuring the overall safety of the worksite. This includes proper crane operation, maintenance, and compliance with safety regulations.
  • Liability: If a construction company fails to implement safety protocols, provide adequate training, or maintain equipment properly, it can be held liable for accidents and injuries resulting from these failures.

Crane Operators

  • Overview: Crane operators have a crucial role in safely operating the crane. They must be properly trained, certified, and follow all safety guidelines.
  • Liability: If an operator’s negligence, such as improper handling or operation errors, leads to an accident, they, along with their employer, may be held accountable for the injuries caused.

Crane Manufacturers

  • Overview: Manufacturers are responsible for producing cranes and their components that meet safety standards and are free from defects.
  • Liability: If a crane accident occurs due to a defect in the crane or its parts, the manufacturer could be held liable for the injuries. This includes design flaws, manufacturing defects, or inadequate warnings about potential hazards.

Maintenance Contractors

  • Overview: Regular maintenance and inspections of cranes are vital to ensure their safe operation. Maintenance contractors are hired to perform these tasks and identify any issues that need addressing.
  • Liability: If a maintenance contractor fails to properly inspect, repair, or maintain the crane, and this negligence results in an accident, they can be held responsible for any resulting injuries.

Site Supervisors and Managers

  • Overview: Site supervisors and managers are responsible for overseeing daily operations and ensuring that all safety protocols are followed on the construction site.
  • Liability: If a site supervisor or manager neglects their duty to enforce safety standards or fails to address known hazards, they could be held liable for accidents that occur under their supervision.

Property Owners

  • Overview: Property owners must ensure that the construction site is reasonably safe for workers and visitors. They are also responsible for addressing any known dangers on the property.
  • Liability: If a property owner fails to provide a safe environment and this contributes to a crane accident, they can be held accountable for the injuries sustained.

Third-Party Contractors

  • Overview: Various third-party contractors may be involved in a construction project, each with specific responsibilities. These can include riggers, electricians, and other specialized workers.
  • Liability: If the negligence of a third-party contractor contributes to a crane accident, they can be held liable for the injuries. For example, if an electrician’s improper wiring leads to an electrical malfunction, causing a crane accident, they may be held responsible.

How a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help

Navigating the workers’ compensation process can be complex and overwhelming, especially after a serious injury. A skilled workers’ compensation lawyer can provide essential support and guidance to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve. Here are key ways a workers’ compensation lawyer can assist you:

  • Case Evaluation: Assess your situation to determine the strength of your claim and the benefits you are entitled to.
  • Filing Claims: Help you accurately complete and submit all necessary paperwork to avoid delays and denials.
  • Gathering Evidence: Collect medical records, witness statements, and other crucial evidence to support your claim.
  • Negotiating with Insurers: Handle communications with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation.
  • Appealing Denied Claims: Represent you in the appeals process if your initial claim is denied, including preparing and presenting your case at hearings.
  • Maximizing Benefits: Identify all potential benefits you may be eligible for, including medical treatment, wage replacement, and disability benefits.
  • Legal Representation: Advocate for your rights in court if necessary, providing experienced representation to achieve the best possible outcome.
  • Advising on Settlement Offers: Review and negotiate settlement offers to ensure they fully cover your needs and future expenses.
  • Protecting Against Retaliation: Advise you on your rights if you face retaliation from your employer for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Contact Us to Secure Compensation

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crane accident, don’t navigate the complexities alone. At Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman, we are dedicated to helping you identify the responsible parties and secure the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a consultation and let us fight for your rights and well-being.

NYC Crane Accident FAQs

Crane accidents in New York City can lead to severe injuries, complex legal situations, and numerous questions. At Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman, we understand the challenges faced by victims and their families. Here are some frequently asked questions about crane accidents in NYC to provide clarity and guidance.

1. What Should I Do Immediately After a Crane Accident?

Your first priority should be to seek medical attention for any injuries. Report the accident to your employer and ensure it is documented. If possible, gather evidence from the scene, such as photographs and witness contact information. Then, contact an experienced crane accident attorney to discuss your legal options.

2. Who Can Be Held Liable for a Crane Accident?

Liability for a crane accident can involve multiple parties, including construction companies, crane operators, equipment manufacturers, maintenance contractors, site supervisors, property owners, and third-party contractors. Determining liability requires a thorough investigation of the incident.

What Compensation Can I Receive for a Crane Accident Injury?

Victims of crane accidents may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, rehabilitation costs, and other damages related to the accident. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim After a Crane Accident?

In New York, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is typically three years from the date of the accident. However, it is crucial to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure all deadlines are met and evidence is preserved.

What Are Common Causes of Crane Accidents?

Answer: Common causes of crane accidents include mechanical failures, improper assembly, overloading, inadequate training, poor site planning, adverse weather conditions, human error, and lack of regular maintenance and inspections.

How Can a Crane Accident Attorney Help Me?

An experienced crane accident attorney can help by investigating the accident, identifying liable parties, gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing you in court if necessary. They will work to ensure you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.

Are There Specific Safety Regulations for Cranes in NYC?

Yes, crane operations in NYC are governed by strict safety regulations enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB). These regulations cover crane inspection, operator certification, load limits, and site safety measures.

What If I Was Partially at Fault for the Accident?

New York follows a comparative negligence rule, which means you can still recover damages even if you were partially at fault. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. An attorney can help assess your case and determine how comparative negligence might impact your claim.