Construction is a dangerous industry. In 2017, the construction industry suffered 971 worker fatalities. Cranes, which are on many construction sites, present unique hazards. Recent accidents highlight the dangers posed by cranes and the importance of new regulations designed to promote crane safety.
Crane accidents cause death and damage.
Several accidents involving cranes have appeared in the news in recent months. Each has resulted in a tragic loss of life.
- A crane collapsed onto a Dallas apartment building during a storm in June. The crane caused massive damage to the building. One woman died and others were injured. According to CNN, it was the ninth crane accident death in North Texas since 2012. The tragedy highlights the importance of watching the local weather report and taking measures to secure cranes as needed.
- A crane killed four people after it collapsed onto a road in Seattle this April. According to the Columbian, experts are saying that human error may have been responsible for the tragedy. According to the report, workers who were disassembling the crane may have removed pins that kept the crane intact too early, allowing it to topple easily.
- A crane counterweight fell on a construction worker in Manhattan in April. The worker died, and two other workers were injured. According to the Morning Call, it was the third construction fatality in New York City to occur in less than a week.
Cranes pose unique threats.
Cranes are especially large, even for construction equipment. They’re narrow and rise high up into the air. They’re used to lift heavy objects. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to realize how things can go wrong.
And when things do go wrong, they can go very wrong. If a crane falls, it puts construction workers in grave danger. It also threatens the people working, living and driving nearby.
Because construction activity is booming, this threat may be increasing. According to the RLB Crane Index from January 2019, crane usage has increased in North America. New York has experienced a 40 percent increase in cranes.
With so much crane usage, safety is more important than ever. Recent events have shown how important it is for workers to know how to operate and disassemble cranes correctly. Knowing how to secure cranes when a storm approaches is also essential.
OSHA finalized a new rule on crane safety in November 2018. Under the new rule, crane operators must be certified or licensed and receive ongoing training on new equipment. Employers must train operators, evaluate them and document this.
If you haven’t reviewed crane usage policies and safety procedures in the last few months, make it a priority. Likewise, if you haven’t updated your construction insurance in the last year, contact BNC Insurance. We can help ensure that your construction insurance coverages are optimized for the risks you face.