Compilations of heavy machinery "in trouble" circulate on the internet, providing amusement to many who relish in awkward scenes. Youtubers even stitch together funny videos of overturned forklifts, cranes accidently toppling over from too much weight, and other construction vehicle "fails" and share them with one another:
While these accidents may be the stuff of amusement to online voyeurs, they are no laughing matter to the construction workers who work onsite with these heavy machines daily. Where improper safety, maintenance, or handling of heavy machinery leads to such unreal photos, the unintended effects can result in the serious injury or death of workers.
Construction workers labor nearby numerous types of heavy machinery which can cause injury. Unsurprisingly, the biggest sources of injury come from widely used and recognizable equipment, specifically: forklift accidents and crane accidents.
Forklifts and ATVs provide invaluable tools for construction workers, who need to be able to move what would be otherwise impossibly heavy objects across jobsites. But when those important tools are not used properly, poorly maintained, or under poor safety training or direction, they can create significant dangers to the workers operating the vehicles, standing on them, or anywhere nearby.
In November 2016, a NJ worker died after falling from the end of a forklift when the fork end detached, as the result of a mechanical failure. OSHA investigators told police that the manner of the forklift's use was improper, and the employer reportedly had a history of workplace safety violations including two previous fines for improper safety. In a separate incident the same month, a CA worker was crushed to death when a forklift rolled over and pinned him. The next week, another IL man was struck by a forklift and killed.
Crane accidents and collapses, particularly in urban centers, have earned a rightful reputation as significant dangers to worker, and public, safety. In New York, on March 2008 a crane working on the Tappan Zee Bridge collapsed upon six lanes of traffic. By sheer chance, the crane somehow missed all but one of the 138 thousand cars which crossed beneath it every day.
Only a few months later, another crane collapse propelled the cab and the arm into a building across the street. The operator was pronounced dead at the scene. "I always look up at that crane," noted an officer working nearby. But after the incidents, "I'm afraid to drive under it"
And just this year, in November 2016, after the 6,500-pound beam was being moved into place when the crane's rigging reportedly failed, and the beam instead the steel beam fell four stories into the crane's cab, killing both the operator and flagman. 3 "The beam was too heavy for the cable. They should have used stronger cable to carry that amount of weight," noted at least one onsite source. As a result of the accident the city announced hearings to consider new ways to improve building safety.
Other Heavy Machinery
But forklifts and cranes are only two of the many types of heavy machines which construction workers use, and risk injury by every day. And the failures and harm which result can be just as devastating. One worker in Miami, was pinned under heavy machinery on the 12th floor of a building where he was working, and had to be evacuated by crane.
Heavy Machinery Construction Lawsuits
Where management has endangered employee safety in disregarding OSHA requirements, did not supply workers proper safety equipment or maintenance, or provided dangerous or defective equipment without proper training, they are responsible for the harms which they have caused.
In a January 2016 settlement reached between the Department of Labor and a Boston contractor, required the company to create a fund in the names of two men killed in a crane collapse and take steps to correct multiple safety violations, including improper training and evaluation of the employees.
Where a negligent or reckless employer has actually endangered workers, such injuries are wrongful, not accidental, and their victims and loved ones deserve to be compensated.
What Should I Do If I, Or a Co-Worker, Get Injured?
First, ensure your immediate health and safety, and seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you require emergency medical care, call 911. Even if the injuries do not require immediate attention, be sure to inform the onsite foreman or supervisor - who may recommend medical treatment. Take pictures of the scene and the injury. Get contact information of any person who saw the accident. Be sure to keep detailed notes of the event and keep all receipts or invoices for medical care, medical supplies, or even any over-the-counter supplies you purchase for your injuries.
Not Injured, But Concerned About Construction Site Safety?
You can report safety concerns about your jobsite by filing a complaint with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health. Unless you opt to have your name disclosed, your confidentiality is fully protected when you file a complaint.
Contact Our Team of Construction Accident Lawyers Now
If you feel you have been wrongfully injured, you may need the help of a construction accident lawyer, who can help you in understanding what safety violations to look for. At Cutter Law, We specialize in complex civil cases resulting from construction and on-the-job accidents. Our team of personal-injury attorneys ensure victims of accidents can win the compensation they deserve for their pain, suffering, disability, medical expenses, and lost wages.
If you have been injured by a forklift, crane, or other piece of heavy machinery while on the job, reach a member of our personal injury team today for your free consultation by calling us at 888-285-3333, or reaching out to us online.