Crane accidents are one of the most common incidents to occur on oil fields and oil rigs. It’s unfortunately easy for crane operators to not be properly trained in handling the crane equipment, or they might not be aware of any changes in operating practices. This summer, it will be the 10th anniversary of one of the deadliest crane accidents that has occurred. Investigations have already been conducted, but it’s important to reflect on what happened during this accident and how the lessons learned can help prevent this from happening again.
This accident happened at an oil refinery in Houston in the summer of 2008. The crane collapsed and killed four workers while injuring seven others. The fatal accident raised concerns about the safety of operating cranes and the safety of the actual cranes themselves. The crane from this Houston accident was owned by Deep South Crane & Rigging, and it was 30 stories tall and capable of lifting 1 million pounds. Federal investigators did not come to any surprising revelations; some states like Texas don’t require crane operators to be licensed, so a possible conclusion was that the operator was unintentionally negligent in his knowledge of proper machine handling.
How Could This Have Been Prevented?
The problem with crane accidents is that it’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly went wrong. However, there are a few things that this Houston oil rig could currently be doing, to prevent any further accidents. First, oil rig employers should ensure that their crane operators are licensed and that they have the current knowledge of how the crane functions. Cranes in states like Texas and Louisiana should have local and state oversight, and each machine should be maintained and monitored regularly by federal regulators.
Most injuries involving cranes come from operator failure. A proper lift requires continuous observation and cooperation between the crane operator and all parties involved in a lift. Improper supervision and instruction, along with failing to utilize proper safety measures can be the difference in properly lifting something and a fatal maneuver. We have handled a number of cases where people have been injured by the crane operator (on a platform or drilling rig) has been negligent and people have been injured while trying to get onto the platform from the work boat.
If you have experienced a serious injury due to a crane operator accident, you should speak to an attorney. The attorneys at law at Galloway Jefcoat LLP are experienced in helping victims who have lost loved ones to crane accidents or have been injured themselves. Contact us today.