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Cranes are a common example of heavy machinery that is found at a jobsite. They are often forgotten or disregarded since they tower over a jobsite, but they can pose a real hazard to workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries most recent survey, there were 79 deaths because of hoists, cranes, derricks, and related accessories.

Given the size of cranes, there have been fatalities involving pedestrians as well because the general public is often around these cranes since cranes are often in large and dense urban areas. Cities like Seattle, Bellingham, Kirkland, and Olympia have seen record numbers of cranes in their downtown urban cores and even beyond, into outer suburbs as well. This record growth has also spurred, unfortunately, an increase in the number of people who are hurt from crane accidents.


Crane accidents are common for a number of reasons and they can happen for a number of reasons and in a number of situations. The main reason for crane accidents results from:

  • Boom collapses
  • Dropped loads
  • Cranes that have been overturned
  • Falls
  • Rigging failures

This is largely because many cranes are not maintained properly or inspected on a consistent basis. Those are the most common reasons, but there are many others as well, and a lot of these reasons fall on the crane operator. Many crane operators simply do not have the proper qualifications and training to be operating a crane in the first place.

Alarmingly, OSHA’s crane standards have not been updated since 1971. The owners and operators of cranes have a duty not to harm the public with their cranes and they must abide by that duty. If they breach this duty and someone is harmed, then by law they are responsible for the injured party’s damages, which can include, but are not limited to, medical bills, wages that are lost from work, and money for what is called pain and suffering.