The Dangers of Crane Collapses and Accidents in Maryland

The Dangers of a Crane Collapses and Accidents in MarylandOver the last few years, there has been an uptick in crane collapses and accidents across the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were close to 300 crane-related fatalities from 2011 to 2017 in the United States. This adds up to more than 40 deaths per year from crane collapses and accidents.

Most of the time these accidents can be prevented with proper training, classes, and guidelines. However, many companies still fail to implement rules and changes to avoid crane collapses and accidents. As a result, workers, pedestrians, drivers, and other people near construction sites suffer life-threatening and catastrophic injuries, causing them to be out of work and in recovery for months or years before they heal or learn how to cope with their new way of life.

Why are cranes so dangerous?

Cranes lift and move heavy and large loads, usually on construction sites. The reason that they are so dangerous is because they are very powerful, very heavy, and have the ability to hurt or crush a human being within seconds. In fact, a crane can weigh almost 70,000 pounds with no load. Therefore, when you add a heavy load, very windy conditions, and/or a worker who is not sufficiently trained to operate a crane, you can end up in a hazardous situation.

Common injuries that result from crane collapses and accidents

The reasons for these deaths are most likely due to how dangerous crane machines are and the severe, sudden, and permanent injuries that they can cause. Here are some of the common injuries that result from crane collapses and accidents:

How do crane collapses and accidents occur?

Operator negligence plays a role in crane collapses. While OSHA requires certification for crane operators, they can be distracted or negligent just as any other person could be. They can make critical mistakes, like hitting power lines or buildings, and having moments of pedal or joystick confusion, causing them to swing the load out or drop it.

Overloading is another common cause of these accidents. An overloaded crane can tip (especially in high winds) but it is more likely to drop part of its load. Being hit by falling objects is consistently listed in OSHA’s “Fatal Four,” and dropping debris from a crane can be deadly.

What makes cranes inherently unsafe, however, is how they are constructed. Practical Engineering explains it like this:

Most cranes on construction sites are temporary. They’re not staying when the job is done. That means they either arrived under their own power (called mobile cranes), or they were shipped on trucks and assembled on-site, a process that can take days or weeks depending on the size of the machine. A crane can be extremely vulnerable during assembly or disassembly since all the components aren’t fully bolted together….

In most cases, these cranes are expertly engineered for worst-case conditions. But the manufacturers are rarely the ones installing them on site. So, they provide detailed manuals for the crews assembling and disassembling them. Unfortunately, those manuals aren’t always followed to the letter.

Finally, crane collapses can be the result of shifting soil beneath them. (It’s the same danger that leads to trench collapses, too.) If the ground shifts, or if it rained on the site and the ground is muddy, or if there is some other reason why the ground can be unstable, the crane can sink. If it does, it can throw the balance off for the machine and cause the whole thing to tip over (This is one reason why it’s always worth waiting for a soil technician to finish his or her tests and to follow his or her guidance before starting any big construction project.)

Can I get workers’ compensation for my crane accident injuries?

When accidents with cranes occur, it is usually at a construction site or workplace, which involves injured workers. Most people who have been hurt by a crane are unable to work and earn a living during recovery or for the rest of their lives. Some workers may not survive their injuries at all. However, the good news is that the Maryland workers’ compensation lawyers at Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A. are here to make sure your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you are entitled to claim.

Regardless of the type of crane accident you were involved in or what caused the accident, you have the right to workers’ compensation benefits. At Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A, our Maryland workers’ compensation attorneys believe in standing up for our clients who have been injured on the job and need financial assistance to live and take care of their day-to-day needs afterwards. Therefore, our team will help you file your workers’ compensation claim, gather the information to submit with your claim, and guide you through the difficult and complex process.

Complete our contact form or call our office at your earliest convenience to schedule your free consultation at one of our multiple office locations across the state. We look forward to speaking with you soon and answering your questions and concerns.