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National Cathedral Crane Collapse Spotlights Construction Site Danger

National Cathedral Crane Collapse Spotlights Construction Site Danger

A crane that was repairing damage at Washington National Cathedral fell over.

President Obama had been scheduled to speak at the Cathedral on the evening of September 11 to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Crane accidents occur more often than national news reports indicate. A construction accident may be local news unless it occurs at a well-known landmark such as the Cathedral or in a highly populated area such as New York City,” David Perecman, founder of The Perecman Firm, one of New York’s construction accident law firms said.

The crane, with a lifting capacity of 500 tons, had been brought in to help with repairs to the more than 100-year-old structure after it was damaged in the 5.8-magnitude earthquake on August 23.

As reported by The Washington Post, the crane operator was lowering the boom when the crane tipped over. Weather reports indicated wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph in the area at the time of the construction accident.

The crane’s operator, who was inside the crane’s cab when it fell, was the only person hurt in the construction accident, said the Post. He was taken to an area hospital and released later the same day, said a cathedral spokesman.

The cathedral escaped further damage when the crane fell. However, the gift shop and several cars were damaged. Two major events scheduled at the Washington National Cathedral for the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of September 11 had to be moved.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will investigate.

“It is extremely fortunate that no one was killed or seriously injured in the crane accident. A crane can be a very dangerous piece of equipment,” said Perecman.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the company that operates the crane was cited by OSHA in 2006 for not providing protective equipment to workers, and again in 2007 for having a worker within the swing radius of a crane.

As reported by the Washington Times, two workers were injured at the cathedral as they were dismantling the crane on the day following the crane accident.

Serious and severe construction accident injuries in New York and elsewhere may occur if cranes are not inspected before use and if they are not used properly. According to OSHA, oftentimes crane accident injuries occur when a worker is struck by an overhead load or caught within the crane’s swing radius. Crane accident fatalities may occur when the boom of a crane or its load line contact an overhead power line.

Construction has been one of the most dangerous industries to work in as measured by number of deaths. Construction workers are always at risk of suffering serious injuries or other construction related accidents.

Construction is one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S., according to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2009, 816 construction workers suffered fatal on-the-job injuries, more than in any other single industry sector and nearly one out of every five U.S. work-related deaths that year.

In a 2009 updated crane report, the CDC reported the average number of worker deaths involving construction cranes was 42 a year.

Construction workers who have been injured in a construction accident in New York should contact The Perecman Firm to make sure they are getting maximum compensation for construction accident pain, lost wages, and suffering.

“If the causes of a construction accident are avoidable, meaning that someone’s negligence was the cause of the construction accident, a victim of the construction accident, or his or her family, can obtain financial compensation for the construction accident injuries or construction site death,” said Perecman

Perecman and his team of New York construction accident lawyers at The Perecman Firm have won hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for victims of construction accidents in New York who were injured or killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another individual, company, or entity.


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