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How can workers' injuries in crane accidents be avoided?

Following up on our blog post about a deadly crane accident on October 3 (OSHA finds fatal crane accident on the job was avoidable), California workers may be interested to learn how such accidents can be avoided. Employers are typically responsible for the safety of their workforce and preventing workers' injuries. However, employees may benefit from understanding the potential hazards and the importance of being fully aware of their surroundings at all times.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has strict safety regulations specifically for workers whose jobs require them to work on -- or in the vicinity of -- cranes. The most important regulation specifies that any person operating a crane should have undergone proper training. Many accidents occur because a crane operator was not authorized and/or trained for operating such a dangerous machine. It is vital for the operator to carry out prescribed inspections prior to working with a crane and to remove equipment from service where any defects are present, and only when such defects are repaired and certified safe, should the crane be put back in service.

It is not uncommon for the operator to be unable to see other workers who may be involved in hooking up freight to the crane. There should be effective communication between the two workers -- this often consists of hand signals. A good understanding of the weight and nature of the load is essential, and exceeding the load limit should be avoided at all times. The crane operator should always inspect the overhead areas to avoid dangerous situations such as touching overhead power cables, and ground workers should never move about underneath an overhead load.

California workers who have suffered workers' injuries in accidents involving cranes may be entitled to claim benefits from the workers' compensation insurance fund. Such benefits may provide financial aid to cover medical expenses and ease the financial burden of lost wages. Workers who have suffered debilitating injuries may receive additional compensation for rehabilitation prior to returning to the workplace. When employees experience problems during the claiming process, they may benefit from visiting our workers' compensation website to see how we can help in pursuing full and fair compensation.

Source: safetydailyadvisor.blr.com, "OSHA Edicts on Cranes, Derricks, and Slings", ckilbourne, Oct. 4, 2014

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