Steel Beam Kills Two Queens Construction Workers
There is some debate as to the root cause of a construction site accident which occurred last month in the Briarwood neighborhood of Queens, New York. It was a windy day in the borough, which some say may have been what caused a crane to drop a 6,500-pound steel I-beam. The beam, which fell approximately four stories, killed two construction workers on the ground. However, some speculate that problems in the crane’s rigging may’ve been to blame, and that the accident would’ve occurred irrespective of the weather conditions.
No final conclusions have been arrived at of as of yet.
The I-beam loosed from the crane’s hook block and plummeted down atop the crane’s cab, killing the crane operator. A construction worker who was guiding the operation with a flag was also killed in the crash. Both men were dead by the time emergency workers arrived at the scene.
The construction site itself, where an apartment complex was being worked on, had no prior history of safety violations nor did the crane operator have any disciplinary history. Additionally, the crane had passed a safety inspection in June.
Construction site overseers are expected to make judgement calls in order to preserve the safety of their employees, shutting down work temporarily if they believe inclement weather might lead to a dangerous work environment. They’re also supposed to ensure the proper working conditions of all tools and machinery by adhering to safety protocol and scheduling routine inspections. In the next section, we will cover the basics of construction crane riggings.
Construction Crane Riggings Facts
“One of the most important, yet basic elements of rigging safety is the hoisting triangle. The hoisting triangle consists of the crane, the operation of the crane and the rigging of the load to the crane.”
Here are some more facts about construction crane riggings:
- Every construction worker tasked with operating / servicing cranes must be “professional, knowledgeable” and fully-versed in the “all aspects of riggings safety.”
- As we mentioned earlier, routine maintenance and safety check-ups are required for all construction equipment. This is particularly important for cranes and other heavy machinery, whose malfunction could result in the most catastrophic accidents. Running diagnostics, and having certified technicians consistently review the crane and its components will ensure that the equipment remains in serviceable conditions.
- Crane operators must be knowledgeable about all aspects of crane operation. They must understand load charts and should be trained thoroughly on the particular type of crane they are charged with operating. An experienced crane operator will always know if the machine is set-up properly. Also, according to www.safetyinfo.com, a good crane operator will understand “the use of outriggers as necessary and must consider the radius, quadrants and operate the equipment to eliminate shock and dynamic loading.” They will also have a firm understanding of the weight of the load as well as its center of gravity.
- Crane operators must be aware of all environmental hazards. Such potential hazards include (but are not limited to): electrical lines, trees and other overhead obstacles, weather (such as high wind, in the case noted before), the surrounding architecture, and the construction workers / equipment with which they share their site.
- Good communication is everything! All workers on the crane operation team should perform the requisite signaling and should be in consistent dialog with one another via radio or walkie-talkie. When everyone is on the same page, the likelihood of a miscommunication-born accident will be dramatically reduced.
“A stable load is one in which the center of gravity of the load is directly below the main hook and below the lowest point of attachment of the slings.” Understanding sling loads is the final element in lift safety.
There are many variations for sling angle set ups. Both the number of slings and degrees to which they are set can be adjusted to suit the particular lift project. Having a comprehensive knowledge of sling angles is crucial for crane operators and project overseers alike.
Kaplan Lawyers PC
Crane accidents are a rare occurrence, but their effects can be devastating. If you or someone you know has been injured, either while operating a crane or by fallen debris dislodged by a crane, you owe it to yourself to contact New York’s premier construction accident law firm. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, our team of professional and compassionate attorneys are experienced in handling construction site accidents of all kinds. We will fight determinedly to win you the compensation you deserve. This compensation will offset the costs of your medical bills and will help provide for you and your family as you recuperate from your injuries. Not sure where to turn next? Contact Kaplan Lawyers PC today for a free and easy consultation. Don’t wait – contact Kaplan Lawyers today.