Few images capture the immense scale of construction work like that of a tall crane rising into the sky, seemingly peering over the horizon. It is a visual that will grab anyone’s attention. Yet for construction workers, this scene represents something else: potential danger.
Crane accidents don’t happen every day. When they do occur, they threaten the health and safety of everyone on site, and can easily lead to severe injuries or death. Here are some facts about crane accidents to help you get a better understanding of why they happen.
1. The main types of crane accidents
Crane accidents can occur for many reasons. Broadly speaking, however, they can be broken up into three types, according to an expert with American Society of Safety Engineers.
- Structural failures
- Collisions (like what happened in Austin recently)
2. Private construction and crane fatalities
A number of industries use cranes, and an accident can occur on any of these sites. However, private construction has the highest share of crane-related work fatalities, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Private construction accounted for 42% of such deaths from 2011-15, more than any other industry.
3. Those most at-risk
The BLS found that 22% of fatalities in on-the-job crane accidents involved the person operating the crane at the time of the incident. Similarly, 22% of those killed were involved in construction, assembling or dismantling duties when the accident occurred.
4. How workers are killed
In about half of the deadly workplace crane incidents recorded by the BLS, the worker who lost their life was struck by an object or piece of equipment. This often involved an object falling from a crane. Fatal incidents also involved transportation, falls to a lower level and contact with an electrical line.
5. The main causes of crane accidents
After a serious construction accident, it’s important to determine how the incident occurred. This can often be traced back to five main causes: operational error, a problem with assembly (or disassembly), rigging, maintenance or weather. The answer here can help you determine who may have been at fault for what happened, and consequently, who should be held responsible.