The number of injuries and deaths from construction and crane accidents in New York City and the entire state has been on the rise since 2009. According to the New York Post, in 2015 there were 433 site-related accidents compared to 231 the previous year. These accidents resulted in 471 injuries or deaths—a 91% increase from the 246 people injured or killed in 2014.1
The number of fatalities has also been on the increase. According to the Daily News, there were 17 construction-related fatalities in the city in 2011, compared to 25 fatalities in 2015. In the state, the number of fatalities from 2011 to 2015 rose from 33 to 55. Furthermore, the actual number of safety inspections be conducted at job sites continued to decrease year over year, with 1,966 inspections in 2015, compared to 2,722 in 2011.2
One of the more recent tragic events occurred in September 2017 at the 1 Seaport condo project, where a worker fell 29 stories to his death while attempting to free a crane cable that got stuck. Based on information reported by the Daily News, this construction project had been cited with nine construction code violations since January 2017.3
In addition, the day before the accident, city inspectors had issued a partial stop order due to the unsafe operation of the crane which caused the accident the following day. City inspectors discovered the construction site had not obtained approval and the proper permits for the crane being used at the job site.3
What causes construction crane accidents?
There can be a variety of different causes that result in crane accidents at construction job sites. Some of the more common causes include:
- Inexperienced Crane Operators
- Crane Not Properly Installed
- Boom Being Extended Beyond Its Limits
- Weights Loads in Excess of the Crane’s Maximum Load Limits
- Improper Pulley/Hoisting/Cabling Operations
- Operating the Crane during High Wind Conditions
- Crane Not Properly Supported
How can these accidents be prevented?
Crane and construction site accidents can be prevented by building owners, employers, employees, contractors, and vendors at the job sites taking the right precautions. Everyone needs to be educated about the risks of crane operations, as well as potential job site risks for others, like falling from elevated heights.
Together, each of these groups must work together to identify possible risks and take the appropriate steps to halt work until they can be resolved. For instance, in the accident from September 2017, if the building owner, project manager, or job site foreman had halted crane operations the day before when the city inspectors had issued their partial stop order, then the accident would not have occurred.
What can you do if you are the victim of a crane or construction accident?
If you or someone you care about is injured as a result of a crane or construction site accident, you have certain legal rights. You are entitled to file for workers’ compensation against your employer. In addition, you may have grounds to file a third-party personal injury lawsuit.
To find your legal rights and options or for further questions, please feel free to contact The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. at 1-800-2-DEARIE (1-800-233-2743) to speak with a New York construction accident lawyer today.