In the Bakken oil field, as in other types of construction sites, cranes are needed for lifting, lowering, and horizontal movement of heavy materials. Oil drilling rigs have no shortage of multi-ton components, some of which are colossal in size. While all heavy construction equipment has associated hazards, cranes are especially dangerous because they move objects of great size and weight at considerable heights. The consequences of even a small mistake or oversight can be catastrophic to affected workers.
There are many ways that crane construction accidents happen. Some of the most common of these include:
An overloaded crane can collapse when a structural component fails, or when the load suddenly shifts and topples the crane. The overloaded crane's points of contact with the ground may sink because the soil is overstressed. This causes the crane to lean at a dangerous angle and to possibly tip over.
Regardless of the failure mechanisms, overloading accidents are often caused by poor decisions and planning. Decision makers may choose to operate smaller cranes closer to their lifting capacity because the machines are less costly to rent than larger ones. The operator of a nearly maxed-out crane is at greater risk of overloading his machine.
Each year, accidental contact with power lines kills crane operators and others in electrical contact with the machine. This is often caused by poor planning as well as failing to perform a safety check of the work site to identify its electrical hazards. The crane's range of motion should remain outside the danger zones of power lines. When this isn't possible, the power line should be de-energized and grounded, or insulated barriers erected to prevent physical contact. Alternatively, the power line can be rerouted, or mechanical restraints installed that limit the crane's range of motion so that it can't enter the danger zone.
When a crane accidentally drops its load, people underneath can be crushed or otherwise seriously injured. The reasons why this happens include poor load securement, high winds, operator mistakes, and mechanical failure caused by overloading or poor maintenance. Accident prevention requires improved worker training, highly experienced crane operators, improved maintenance, and ending operations in advance of adverse weather. Set up an exclusion area encompassing the entire fall zone when possible.
If you were injured in a construction accident involving cranes or other heavy equipment, don't hesitate to seek legal advice from the experienced lawyers at Odegaard Braukmann Law. Contact us today.