Last month, a 250-foot crane crashed across six lanes of traffic on the Tappan Zee Bridge. Miraculously, the neck of the crane missed almost all of the 138,000 cars that were present on the bridge that day. The passengers in the only car that was hit in the crane accident only suffered minor injuries. The Coast Guard had to rescue the crane operator from the water, but the worker sustained no serious injuries.
Operator Error, Equipment Failure and Strict Deadlines May Be Factors in the Crane Accident
The state’s Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have launched an investigation into the cause of the Tappan Zee Bridge crane accident. Their investigation found the crane was being used to hold a hammer in place. However, this type of suspension is a lot like balancing a pencil on a tabletop, and any force can make the crane become unbalanced.
While investigators did rule out high winds as the cause of the crane collapse, some speculate the strict timetable of the Tappan Zee Bridge project may have been a factor. The contract with the construction company and the city says the company will be fined $1,500 per minute if lanes on the bridge are not open by the deadline. If the twin span is not open by April of 2018, Tappan Zee Constructors will have to pay $120,000 per day. That said, the construction company may be putting pressure on workers to complete the project, which may have led to either an equipment failure or operator error.
Construction Companies Need to Put Safety Over Deadlines to Avoid a Crane Accident
When workers are forced to clock in overtime and complete strict deadlines, construction accidents are more likely to happen. It is inexcusable for construction companies to dismiss standard safety procedures and OSHA regulations in order to save on costs and complete deadlines. Construction companies owe it to their employees to provide a safe workplace.
Donald G. Targan & Associates is a New Jersey personal injury law firm that helps workers injured in construction accidents.