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Crane operators face many risks and dangers

The construction industry is inherently a dangerous environment to ply one's trade. But one of the most dangerous jobs of all is to be a crane operator on a building site.

New York City has certainly had its share of devastating crane accidents. The close proximity of the buildings to one another and the high density of the population increase the risk that those not working in the construction industry could also be injured or even killed if a crane accident occurs.

Operators must be certified

Unlike in some other states, all crane operators in New York must take and pass an exam to obtain their Crane Operator Certificate of Competence. This is a requirement in order to operate a crane and do demolition, excavation or construction work in our state.

But even with this certification, crane operators still face enhanced risks on job sites. One report by the Center for Construction Research and Training stated that the industry saw an annual average of 22 crane-related fatal incidents in the span from 1992 to 2006.

Industry insider weighs in

One former crane operator and the chief executive officer (CEO) of Crane Safety Associates of America says that these large cranes "are extremely dangerous in the wrong hands." He added that, "It's been proven to be the one piece of equipment that has the potential to do the most damage on any job."

Part of the problem, he says, is that the newer cranes are constructed from new alloy steels that are "rating the cranes very close to their structural limitations."

In addition to being certified and having sufficient experience as a crane operator, they also need to be able to "finesse" and maneuver a heavily loaded crane. This is especially important when operating a crane on crowded Manhattan streets.

It's not always the operator

The industry insider added that there are additional factors that can contribute to crane injuries and deaths, like companies that fail to properly maintain and inspect their cranes.

All the training, skills and experience of an operator can be for nought if the equipment isn't able to handle the job at hand. If you were injured in a crane accident in New York City, you may want to explore your legal options for seeking redress.

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