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Crane Accidents & Human Error


On April 29, 2019, a construction crane fell from a building of a Google Campus in Seattle, killing two ironworkers who had served in the Marines, a former city employee, and a freshman college student. Six vehicles were crushed on Mercer Street.

Authorities are currently investigating five companies in connection with the crane accident. Although the cause of the tragedy has yet been determined, several experts claim human error could’ve been involved, rather than mechanical or structural failure by the machine.

Terry McGettigan, a tower crane specialist and operator with more than 40 years of industry experience, says he has been “subjected to shortcuts countless times.” For example, he noticed all the mast bolts of a Peiner 415 Tower Crane were immensely loosened prior to disassembly.

Unfortunately, prematurely loosening and/or removing pins or bolts is common practice for some construction companies. McGettigan started to publicly speak out against this type of behavior after a Peiner Tower Crane collapsed in Dallas, TX, in 2012 due to loosened and removed bolts, resulting in the death of two ironworkers.

Regarding the Seattle crane accident, he says that the removal of all pins from each mast section is obvious, making the vertical mast susceptible to windy conditions that would’ve been avoided if the pins were in place. The step-by-step process for breaking down a crane after use is two to three days, which is why shortcuts are taken quite frequently.

Although crane operators are closely regulated by the industry, that is not the case for construction workers responsible for assembling and disassembling cranes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an average of 44 people were killed annually from 2011 to 2015 due to crane accidents.

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a crane accident, Attorney Rob Kornfeld of Kornfeld Law has more than 38 years of legal experience helping clients recover financial compensation from serious and fatal construction accidents.

For more information about crane accidents, contact us at (425) 657-5255 to schedule a free consultation today.