Several construction accidents involving cranes across the country have rattled the nation and filled national news stories for a few weeks now. Although none of these accidents have occurred in Maryland, these most recent stories are raising concerns for all construction workers in the U.S. as well as here in our state.
Accidents across the country drawing national concern
Crane accidents might not be the most common of all construction incidents. However, they often result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities for construction workers. Improper crane operation can also contribute to the most common accidents involving falls or falling debris.
And three separate crane accidents in Seattle, Dallas and Kansas City are generating scrutiny regarding the safety of the public and construction workers themselves. There were no worker fatalities in the Dallas incident. However, the Seattle accident killed two ironworkers and falling debris from a crane struck the worker in Kansas City, leaving him severely injured.
What should Maryland workers draw from these accidents?
If none of these accidents occurred in Maryland, then many construction workers might wonder why they should worry about these accidents. The fact that there have been so many crane accidents that ranged far across the country should be a cause for concern for every construction worker.
After all, the Bureau of Labor Statistics determined that an average of 44 construction workers were killed in crane accidents each year between 2011 and 2015. That average is on the rise, but it also does not include the number of injuries workers suffered in these accidents.
So, the main takeaway for Maryland construction workers should be preventing these accidents here in our state.
Take extra safety measures to prevent accidents and injuries
Operating cranes requires an extensive amount of training and precision. And the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a wide variety of rules that both employers and operators must follow.
However, the most common cause of crane accidents--and the resulting injuries and fatalities--is human error. And most of these accidents are completely preventable.
There are a few steps that construction workers can take to avoid injuries, including:
- Asking the employer when the last crane inspection was
- Requesting additional training for workplace safety
- Following OSHA's regulations for crane operation closely
- Wearing proper protective gear at all times
- Staying alert on the work site
Construction workers understand the dangers they face every time they clock in. However, those dangers only increase the standard for maintaining a safe workplace and following proper work practices.
It is important for all construction workers to remember that if they suffer an injury on the job, the law could entitle them to recover workers' compensation.