Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Baltimore Workers' Compensation Lawyers Discuss Crane Accidents

Crane Accidents

Construction site cranes can be as tall as skyscrapers. When one of these towering structures collapses or tips over, the results are devastating. If the crane operator is lucky enough to survive the ordeal, it is likely that he or she will suffer devastating injuries requiring ongoing, long-term medical care. Due to the massive size and weight of these machines, injuries from a crane accident tend to be catastrophic, if not fatal. Regardless of the nature of the injury, crane workers are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits, which will help cover the costs associated with the injury.

Common Causes of Crane Accidents

Crane accidents are usually caused by the following:

  • Contact with power lines: Almost 40 percent of crane accidents are caused by contact with power lines. When the crane boom, cables, or other parts of the machine come in contact with a live power line, the crane operator can be electrocuted.
  • Accidents during crane assembly: If the assembly and disassembly is not done according to the manufacturer’s specifications, accidents can easily occur. There are specific tests that can gauge the stability of the crane, and alert the operator of potential hazards.
  • Crane boom collapse: Extending the crane’s boom can put too much pressure on the other components of the crane, causing it to collapse or buckle. This can cause severe injuries to the crane operator and the workers standing below. 
  • Crane tip over: This occurs when the crane is overloaded, or if the ground is unstable. Cranes are also susceptible to the dangers of high winds. Cranes should always be lowered if there is a forecast of potentially dangerous weather. 
  • Negligent supervision: Accidents can occur when a crane operator is not well-supervised or does not receive proper training. 
  • Improper operation: When a crane operator fails to operate the machine properly, or is careless or distracted, there is a greater risk of an accident. 
  • Defective equipment: Like any vehicle, if any of the crane’s parts or equipment are defective, it can have devastating consequences.

Fatal Four Causes of Crane-Related Deaths

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) describes the following as the main causes of construction worker deaths. Any of these injuries can occur when a crane is present.

  • Falls: Workers who fell from an object, including cranes, consistently account for most construction deaths.
  • Electrocutions: Failing to check for live wires can cause severe burns or electrocution when they come in contact with the metal frame of a crane.
  • Struck by Object: Large, heavy objects swinging from a crane can cause injuries, especially when there are heavy winds.
  • Caught-In/Between: These can be particularly gruesome, as a victim can suffer severe bone fractures or be crushed to death when caught between heavy machinery.

Benefits for Crane Accident Victims

  • Medical benefits: Recovering from a serious crane accident can be a long and expensive process, often involving hospitalizations, surgeries, physical therapy, costly medications, and other regimens necessary to treat the injury.
  • Wage loss benefits:
    • TTD Benefits: If the employee’s injury makes him or her unable to work at all, Workers’ Compensation will provide a weekly wage loss benefit, which will be a percentage of his or her average weekly wage.
    • PPD Benefits: If an employee is able to return to work, but at a lower paying job, the employee will receive an average weekly wage that is based on a calculation of his or her average weekly wage. After 500 weeks, the employee’s status is changed to temporary total disability.
  • Death benefits: If an employee dies in a crane accident, the employee’s dependent spouse and children are entitled to monetary benefits based on the employee’s wage.

Tips to Help Prevent Crane Accidents

  • Proper training and education programs
  • Crane safety plan specific for each job
  • Identify potential safety hazards such as power lines or underground pipes
  • Properly maintain and inspect cranes to make certain that it is rigged properly before use
  • Assign qualified supervisors to monitor crane operations
  • Designate a properly trained signal person who knows the appropriate signaling method for each crane
  • Encourage employers to work together with their employees to ensure that the proper safety methods are being followed

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Crane Accidents

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a crane accident, you are urged to contact the highly skilled Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. Our dedicated team will take you through every step of the claims process, protecting your rights every step of the way. Our goal is to secure the maximum allowable benefits that you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.