According to the latest annual report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 816 fatal on-the-job injuries to construction workers. This is more than any single industry sector, as nearly one out of every five work-related deaths occurred on construction sites. Further, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are roughly 150,000 construction worker injuries each year. Additionally, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that one in ten construction site workers are injured annually. Many of these injuries are attributed to construction equipment.
Cranes, in particular, are hazardous structures that frequently cause injuries and deaths. Workers in Massachusetts frequently work on or around cranes, as thousands of construction workers, painters, window washers, and laborers use cranes to complete their daily job duties on the work site. Cranes are used to allow workers to conduct their job duties at high elevations, often to erect buildings, make repairs, and transport thousands of pounds of materials. They are also commonly used by maintenance workers to perform preservation and cleaning work on tall buildings. Despite their known dangers, most workers accept the use of cranes as a necessary part of the job. Construction sites in Massachusetts commonly feature some type of crane, including mobile, gantry, free-standing, wheel-mounted, truck-mounted, crawl-mounted, overhead track-mounted, underhung, straddle, and hammerhead-tower designs. Unfortunately, the widespread use of cranes has historically lead to numerous construction worker injuries and deaths, as there were 303 crane-related accident reports, resulting in 197 deaths, in 2009 alone.Common Causes Of Crane Accident Injuries
These injuries and fatalities are often attributed to falling material, crane collapses, defective products and designs, collisions with other construction equipment, mechanical failures, inadequate fall protection, operator errors due to poor training, supervision, and distractions, and electrocution from entanglement in power lines. The large size of cranes makes them difficult to operate on a construction site. This can lead to falling cargo and collapses. Further, improper crane setup and selection, inappropriate use and excessive operation, failing to accommodate for inclement weather conditions, and cluttered work environments are all root causes of injuries and deaths related to cranes.
Injuries from crane accidents may include brain injuries, back injuries, neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, leg injuries, and concussion. Often, these injuries are catastrophic and result in broken bones, nerve damage, traumatic brain injury, and torn ligaments. In the most unfortunate cases, these injuries can lead to permanent scarring, comas, paralysis, and even death. The high-risk of catastrophic injury and/or death has lead to stringent regulations regarding cranes. These injuries can prevent workers from leading productive and enjoyable lives and often require extensive rehabilitation and long-term care. In short, a crane accident can be physically, emotionally, and financially devastating to victims and their families.Regulation Governing Cranes In Massachusetts
Cranes are regulated by the Federal and state governments. These regulations require crane owners, general contractors, and sub-contractors to implement numerous safety measures. In particular, OSHA regulations call for crane operators to be properly trained and licensed before operating the equipment. OSHA also requires that cranes be used on appropriate work sites, secure ground, and at a safe distance from power lines. Additionally, there are a plethora of regulations that relate to crane design, maintenance, inspections, load capacity, and adequate warning signs. Pursuant to the regulations, every individual on the work site - including employers, supervisors, workers, contractors and subcontractors - must comply with the regulations. Failure to adhere to these guidelines can result in liability for workers, supervisors, contractors, and sub-contractors.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding a crane accident, most Massachusetts workers injured on the job are entitled to workers' compensation. However, workers' compensation may not fully compensate injured workers for damages sustained. This insurance will pay for medical expenses and reduced pay while you are out of work, but in addition to workers' compensation benefits, many construction workers are also entitled to compensation from negligent non-employers, such as property owners, general contractors, sub-contractors, maintenance companies, defective product manufacturers, and/or supervisors on the site. Nearly all crane injuries and deaths are preventable and frequently can be attributed to the negligence of workers and supervisors. Thus, both workers' compensation and potential third-party claims will need to be coordinated.
Injuries will often create large medical bills, long periods of disability, lost wages, and perhaps future lost earning potential. After a construction accident, a timely investigation and preservation of evidence is required to secure adequate compensation. It is also important to report accidents to authorities, such as OSHA. Since the Massachusetts Statute of Limitations applies to construction accident claims, timely filing is imperative. Many times, crane accidents will require interactions with medical specialists, accident reconstruction experts, and forensic examiners to collect the necessary evidence and documentation to file a successful claim. Further, establishing liability is often a complex endeavor and may require the use of engineers, safety experts, product designers, and other witnesses.Experienced Lawyers Handling Crane Accident Cases
The personal injury attorneys at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. are experienced in coordinating benefits, negotiating settlements, and preparing potential litigation for construction accidents. We thoroughly investigate each case to ensure that all sources of potential compensation are covered.
Our personal injury lawyers have experience investigating accident sites and causes. If you have been hurt on the job site, you are not necessarily limited to workers' compensation. You may be able to make a claim against the entity that caused the accident, whether it be the manufacturer of faulty equipment or a subcontractor or vendor who failed to follow safety rules. Talk to a construction accident attorney at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. about your options. Call 617-225-2100.