Dallas Crane Collapse Again Highlights Construction Dangers
Construction sites are inherently dangerous places. A series of recent crane collapses highlights how members of the public, as well as workers in hard hats face potential death and injury.
Earlier this month, a storm brought down a crane in Dallas, Texas with such force it crushed an apartment building. The crane fall claimed the life of 29-year-old Kiersten Smith. About half a dozen people were injured and lost their homes.
Lawsuits have already been filed over the accident. Macy Chiasson, who was injured as she fled from the falling crane, filed a lawsuit against the crane company Bigge Crane and Rigging. Chiasson lost her home to the crane and claimed injuries. Media reports noted the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued Bigge Crane with 18 safety violations in the last decade. A worker at a nuclear power plant was killed in 2013 when one of the company’s cranes collapsed.
About three hours before the crane gave way, the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the Dallas area. Winds of more than 70 mph were reported in the Dallas area.
However, one expert told CNN, the crane should have withstood winds twice as strong.
The Dallas crane collapsed just two months after a giant structure fell in Seattle, killing four people.
In April, a tower crane on a new Google campus fell from the roof of a building, crashing into six cars and killing four people. This tragic accident claimed the lives of two ironworkers who were in the crane and two people in separate cars. Four others were injured.
An investigation is underway. The National Weather Service reported a storm squall at the time of the accident with powerful gusting winds moved through the area at the time the crane was being dismantled. The steel structure then toppled.
How Often Do Crane Accidents Occur?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 16 fatal injuries related to cranes in 2017. The bureau noted there was an average of 44 deaths per year over a five-year span from 2011 to 2015. Many of those who lose their lives are construction workers and the accidents receive less publicity than high-profile crane collapses that kill local residents or passers-by.
Are Crane Accidents Caused by Negligence?
The actions or inactions of a crane operator or a contractor often causes crane accidents. You may be able to file a lawsuit after a Virginia crane accident.
Cities like Norfolk have seen an upsurge in construction projects in recent years. Cities in the midst of a building boom like New York witnessed a series of crane accidents. In 2016, a giant crane crashed to the ground in Manhattan, killing a passer-by.
The operator of the giant crane that crashed in Tribeca was later found responsible for the mishap. The Buildings Department stripped operator Kevin Reilly of his license and filed a case to revoke it permanently.
Buildings Department investigators found Reilly made a series of mistakes including failing to secure the crane the night before the tragedy and lowering the boom at an improper angle on the day it fell hundreds of feet to the ground.
New York City has been the scene of numerous crane collapses, including a 2008 incident in which a crane collapsed, destroying a townhouse and killing seven people.
Accidents on Construction Sites’
Crane accidents are among the most serious types of accidents on construction sites. Often crane operators lack experience and contractors fail to treat these massive pieces of equipment with the respect they deserve.
However, crane accidents are just one of many things that can go wrong on a construction site. Construction workers continue to be killed and to suffer serious accidents every year.
There were a total of 5,147 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2017, down from the 5,190 fatal injuries reported in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. About 900 of these occur on construction sites every year.
Improperly constructed scaffolding is a major cause of workers falling to their deaths.
Falls cause a large number of deaths in the construction industry. In 2013, for example, 291 fatal falls were reported out of more than 800 deaths in the industry, according to figures from OSHA.
Research by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics found more than 70 percent of workers who were injured in scaffold accidents slipped, fell, or were hit by a falling object.
If you are injured or if you lose a loved one in a Virginia crane or construction site accident, you may have rights to sue the owner of the site, your employer, a management company or another party. The attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers represent many people hurt in construction site accidents. Please call us today.