Crane Collapse on a Southern California Freeway
As the report explains, construction workers on State Route 15 had been using a crane to move concrete barriers for a freeway ramp. That crane actually “toppled over,” and it pinned the injured worker between two barricades. An article in The San Diego Union-Tribune also discussed the accident, noting that the crane was a large one involved in the Caltrans construction project. In addition to severely injuring the employee, the accident also blocked lanes on the freeway for about five hours. During that time, motorists largely remained stranded until officers from the California Highway Patrol could arrive to reroute traffic.
The accident occurred just before 1:00 a.m. on a weekday. How did this serious construction accident happen? Initial investigations from the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department suggest that “the weight of the loan on the crane’s extended boom onto its side.” At that time, “the heavy boom crushed the center of the trailer and caused one or more concrete barriers to fall onto the freeway.”
According to reports, the injured worker was a subcontractor. He was not operating the crane, but rather had been “standing on the flatbed to guide the lifting process” when the accident took place. He sustained an open fracture to one of his legs. To remove him from the K-rails between which he was pinned, other construction workers at the scene attempted to use crow bars to remove the heavy barrier. Emergency medical responders arrived and transported the victim to a local hospital by ambulance.
Learning More About Crane and Hoist Safety
How often to crane accidents happen? According to a report from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), there are more than 250,000 crane operators who work in our country alone, and more than 125,000 cranes in operation just in the construction industry. On average, OSHA reports around 70 fatalities per year related to cranes, derricks, hoists, and hoisting accessories. And crane and hoist problems do not only pose dangers to workers. Indeed, OSHA emphasizes that members of the general public also are at risk of injuries if a crane collapses or drops heavy materials.
In general, what kinds of incidents result in crane-accident injuries and deaths? According to a fact sheet from the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health (eLCOSH), the following represent the most common causes for construction worker injuries involving cranes:
- Crane collapses (39%);
- Contact with overhead power lines (14%);
- Being struck by a crane loan (14%);
- Being struck by other parts of the crane (11%); and
- Other causes (23%).
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a construction accident, an experienced San Diego construction accident attorney can discuss your options with you today. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about filing a claim.