A crane may not be an unusual sight at a large-scale construction project in Pennsylvania. However, people may be unaware that there is not a national system for certifying operators for crane-related work. Because of their size, crane accidents can have serious consequences, and the majority of such incidents are attributed to human error.
Crane inspection is one of the most important factors in avoiding accidents. An operator, for example, typically inspects a crane on a daily basis. Operators are typically motivated to inspect their equipment carefully because of the potential for harm if something goes wrong. A company will also perform more intensive inspections every four to six weeks. Annual inspection by an outside entity is also normally required by OSHA. However, complaints or workplace accidents could result in more frequent outside inspections.
On a national scale, there is still an effort underway to develop certification standards and licensing. Some states already require something similar to a driver’s license for those who will operate cranes. Further, most companies ensure that those hired to operate cranes are experienced. Experts indicate that the greatest risks for crane accidents tend to occur with mobile cranes used on small jobs such as home projects. Those used on large construction projects are typically anchored with massive concrete cubes and are designed to tolerate winds with speeds at hurricane forces. However, improved safety standards can benefit workers, contractors, and civilians if they lead to a reduction in accidents.
A person who is hired to operate heavy equipment would normally be covered by workers’ compensation insurance in case of an on-the-job accident. Even if the worker makes an error that leads to such an accident, the coverage would in most cases be in place to provide for appropriate medical care and other benefits.