Another New York accident highlights crane safety concerns

A crane has collapsed onto a bridge over the Hudson River, highlighting concerns about crane safety.

As the Redding Record Searchlight reports, a crane recently collapsed across the Tappan Zee Bridge north of New York City. While the accident did not lead to any serious injuries, it is the latest in a series of crane accidents that have alarmed safety experts, workers and the general public. The incident, which is currently being investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), should serve as a reminder of the serious risks involved in crane work and why it is so important for contractors to ensure that workers and bystanders are kept safe from potential accidents.

Crane shuts down bridge

The crane collapsed in July, shutting down traffic in both directions over the busy Tappan Zee Bridge, which carries the I-287 across the Hudson River. While six of the bridge's seven lanes were quickly reopened, the most southerly lane required more extensive repairs, including for holes in the road deck and in the exterior barrier. Fortunately, nobody was injured in the accident.

OSHA has begun an investigation into the accident, saying it is too early to say at this point why the crane collapsed. The incident, however, is only the latest in a series of crane mishaps that have hit New York, especially since construction started booming again after the 2008 Financial Crisis. Earlier this year, for example, a pedestrian died when a crane collapsed in Tribeca in Manhattan. A 2013 Long Island crane collapse injured seven construction workers. Furthermore, the owner of the crane involved in the Long Island collapse had also been involved in a 2008 collapse on the Upper East Side that resulted in the deaths of two workers.

Construction crane safety

As the Crane Inspection and Certification Bureau notes, crane accident injuries have actually been on the rise in recent years across the United States. About 90 percent of crane accidents are the result of human error, with most such accidents involving crane operators exceeding the crane's operational capacity. Such human errors are often the result of inadequate training.

Furthermore, when crane accidents do occur they tend to lead to more serious injuries and fatalities. About half of all crane accidents that involve an injury result in fatalities. Crane collapses alone are also not the only risk involving cranes. A crane coming into contact with a power source and resulting in electrocution is the cause of 45 percent of crane accidents. Being struck by an object, such as a hoisted load, was also a factor in 40 percent of crane accidents that resulted in injury.

Workers' compensation

As the above article shows, construction is often a dangerous job. Many construction accidents, however, are completely avoidable. Contractors and employers have a duty to provide workers with a safe workplace. For workers who have been injured on the job, they may be able to file for workers' compensation and for further compensation if their injury may have been the result of poor safety standards that were in place at their workplace. A workers' compensation attorney can help injured workers understand how the claims process works and whether they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.