Deaths Due to Cranes

The grim reality is, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “From 2011 to 2017, the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reported 297 total crane-related deaths, an average of 42 per year over this 7-year period.” (1)

Additionally, CPWR — The Center for Construction Research and Training found, “More construction laborers were killed in crane-related incidents than any other trade, even operating engineers.” (2)

Also, many fatalities involving cranes occur in the private sector. BLS reports, “From 2011 to 2015, 42 percent of fatal work injuries involving cranes took place in the private construction industry.” (3)

BLS identifies five states where crane fatalities were highest: Texas, Florida, New York, California, and Illinois. (4)

New York Crane Mishaps

One of New York City’s fatal crane mishaps occurred when a crane collapse killed one person and injured three others — two seriously. (5) But there have been plenty of construction-related accidents since then.

The New York City Department of Buildings warns, “A single accident may have multiple injuries and/or fatalities.” (6) Department data for 2020 showed a total of 484 construction related injuries and fatalities — including crane incidents — across all 5 boroughs, with 502 injuries and 8 deaths. Manhattan accounted for 277 of those accidents, with 289 injuries and 2 fatalities. (7)

If you were injured in a crane accident, a lawsuit can get you the compensation you deserve.

Get a Free Case Review

Types of Crane Accidents

There are a number of crane accident types which can occur. The BLS says crane incidents resulting in fatalities include: (8) (9)

  • Getting struck by an object or equipment: “Just over half of all fatal crane injuries involved the worker being struck by an object or equipment.” (10)
  • Getting struck by a falling object or equipment put in motion by a crane: Out of the total fatalities involving cranes, roughly 60% resulted from a worker being struck “by a falling object or equipment.” (11)
  • Transportation incidents: “One-third of all worker deaths involving cranes in 2011–17 were to workers in transportation and material moving occupations.” (12)
  • Falls to a lower level: Falls to a lower level made up 14% of crane-related fatalities. (13)

One of the reasons crane accidents can be so hazardous is because of where these cranes operate. They are used in the middle of the city, around existing buildings, putting car and pedestrian traffic at risk.

Accident Prone Cranes

Some cranes are more prone to accidents than others. “Four main types of cranes have been associated with crane-related fatalities,” says the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health. (14)

Cranes identified as likely to have accidents were: (15)

  • Floating or barge cranes.
  • Mobile or truck cranes.
  • Overhead or gantry cranes.
  • Tower cranes.

Causes of Crane Accidents

No matter the type of crane, the cause of an accident is a critical piece of information in a lawsuit.

The causes of crane accidents are numerous and varied. In general, causes include: (16)

  • Improper use of cranes: An absence of job safety site plans can lead to improper use of cranes. For example, “crane loads should not be allowed to pass over street traffic.”
  • Inexperienced/incapable operator: A lack of worker or supervisor training may be to blame for an accident.
  • Equipment malfunction/improper assembly: “Inadequate inspections have been implicated in work-related crane deaths…only trained workers should assemble, modify or disassemble cranes.”
  • Contact with electrical lines: “Over half of all electrocutions (53%) were associated with the crane boom, cable or load/load line contacting an overhead power line. The rest involved contact of an overhead power line with unspecified parts of the crane.”

Legal Options

Crane accidents can result in severe injuries and fatalities to both workers and bystanders. (17) Mounting bills, lost wages, and lengthy recovery times are important factors to take into consideration when exploring your legal options.

Crane accident cases typically fall under negligence. The legal concept of negligence means a defendant (party being sued) has failed to behave with the “level of care that someone of ordinary prudence” would have exercised in a similar situation. (18)

When dealing with a crane accident, there may be multiple defendants responsible for your injury. It depends on whether a person or company was negligent.

For example, you are walking past a high rise building in the city. A crane is being used on top of the building. No signs are posted on the sidewalk to alert you of the potential hazard. Suddenly, the crane collapses and crashes down on you. You are seriously injured.

In this scenario, the building owners are negligent since they failed to post warning signs, something the owners are required to do. The building owners can be held accountable.

Also, upon investigation of the accident, the construction company records show the crane was not properly maintained. Regular inspections were not conducted. The construction company can be held responsible for your injuries.

Additionally, the crane operator may have failed to operate the collapsed crane properly. The operator could also be held accountable for your injuries.

Finally, the crane collapsed because of a defective boom. The manufacturer of the crane could be held accountable for the improper construction of the boom.

Consulting with an attorney is one of the best ways to advance your case and ensure an optimal outcome.

Were you or a loved one injured in a crane accident? You may be eligible for compensation.

(833) 977-3437

How W&L Can Help

Weitz & Luxenberg has litigated numerous construction accident and personal injury cases. With more than 30 years in practice, our firm has successfully represented our clients’ interests.

Here are a few of our cases:

  • W&L won a $2.96 million verdict for our client when the negligent hi-lo driving of a coworker cost our client his leg. Adequate barriers were missing from around a pit in which they worked.
  • W&L won $10 million for a teenager left blind in one eye after a bungee cord accident on a school field trip. The bungee cord was negligently designed.