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Unsafe Crane Operations and their Impact on Worker’s Physical Health

A warning sign at a construction site

Operational pitfalls and mishaps can result in the deadliest construction site accidents, such as the 2019 Seattle crane collapse. The equipment was deployed at the construction site on the Google office building and toppled over onto Mercer Street, killing four, injuring four others, and crushing six cars.

Strong winds in the area are speculated to be the key accident-causing factor. However, investigations revealed that improper inspections and crane assembly might have been the potential cause.

This leads us to believe that a lack of maintenance, inspections, operator skills, and weather monitoring can lead to fatal crane accidents. It not only puts crane operators at high risk but also exposes bystanders, pedestrians, vehicles, and buildings to damage hazards. In this blog, we discuss the effects of unsafe crane operations on worker health and well-being.

Continue reading to learn more.

Factors That Compromise Crane Safety and Operational Performance

Before we highlight the health risks posed by unsafe crane operations, it’s important to discuss the reasons behind fatal crane accidents and hazards. Certain pitfalls and shortcomings lead to operational unsafety and ultimately cause unfortunate workplace injuries and deaths.

Crane operations in progress

These reasons include but aren’t limited to:


Overloading is one of the leading causes of crane accidents. Operators and on-ground crane personnel cannot overlook the importance of following crane load charts. It’s the only way to prevent crane overloading risks. Keep your crane manufacturer’s manual handy, and do not exceed the weight, load, radius, and angle limitations.

Overloading a crane can result in tip-overs, load swings, and angle irregularities. We recommend you install a high-performance load indicator to keep your crane load weights in check.

Wrong Rigging

Rigging is a vital part of any crane lifting operation. It must be performed by licensed and qualified riggers to prevent equipment instability, falls, and load shifts. Check out the crane warning indicators available on our website to minimize rigging risks at your workplace.

Install a RaycoWylie wind speed indicator or an Anti-two blocking system to help your crane personnel stay updated about weather development and hoist operations in real time. These devices can significantly improve crane operator visibility, control, and navigation capabilities during a lift.

Poor Maintenance

OSHA strongly and strictly suggests crane operators and supervisors conduct regular equipment inspections before and after each shift. Cranes have a very complex hardware configuration and, therefore, are more susceptible to wear and tear and control faults.

A crane accident site

Improper or inadequate crane maintenance can lead to unwanted downtime and emergency shutdowns, putting crane operators at a high injury risk.

Most Common Crane Operator Injuries that Can Occur Due to Unsafe Crane Operations

The above-mentioned crane faults can result in short to long-term crane operator injuries. As a result, injured operators are often not able to operate a crane anymore. Here are the four common crane operator injuries you should try to prevent at all costs;

Crush Injuries

A law firm reports that Texas, Florida, and California are the three top states in terms of crane crush injuries. These states have seen rapid infrastructural development in the last few years. It’s easy to spot a crane or two in every district, with many deployed in heavily crowded areas. Crush injuries usually occur when an operator, on-ground worker, or a bystander is caught between the crane and the load.

Crush injuries vary in terms of severity but eventually leave life-long scars, pain, and bruises on one’s body. They can also result in limb amputations and internal organ injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Crane operators can get struck by a load or crane part, which can lead to a traumatic brain injury. TBIs are extremely hazardous and result in permanent brain damage. Crane operators dealing with TBI may also develop permanent physical impairments.

Strains, Sprains, and Severe Musculoskeletal Disorders

Crane operators work in tough conditions and are usually sitting inside a crane control cabin with limited mobility and flexibility. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) include lower back disorders and neck pain imposing an annual worker claim cost of over 100 billion dollars in the US. Studies also show that almost all crane operators in the US develop some sort of MSD ranging from arm and neck pain to muscle degeneration and inflammation.

A crane operator dealing with a workplace injury

In addition, soft tissue injuries, AKA strains and sprains, are commonly reported crane operator injuries that mostly occur due to poor worker ergonomics, exposure to vibrations, and manual loading. Such injuries can result in constant pain and sensation loss in fingers, calves, shoulders, and toes.

How Crane Warning Systems Atlanta Can Help You Improve Crane Operations

Crane Warning Systems Atlanta is a well-known, trusted, and reliable crane safety product distributor in the US. Our team has been providing advanced crane warning devices and RaycoWylie products since 2001.

The pioneer of range-limiting system manufacturing, RaycoWylie has now transformed into a world-renowned developer of crane safety instrumentation. It specializes in Load links, rated capacity indicators, and crane scale, among more. If you’re looking for authentic RaycoWylie crane warning devices in the US, Crane Warning Systems Atlanta has got your back!

Equip your crane operators with the best-quality crane camera systems. You can buy the CCS2 and CCS4 systems available at Crane Warning Systems Atlanta. You can also check out high-precision RaycoWylie crane overload systems, crane load indicators, wireless wind speed indicator, and other RaycoWylie wireless crane anemometer on our website.

You can also check out product manuals and free troubleshooting guides on our website or learn about the specs and features of advanced crane indicator systems. Contact us for more details or request a quick quote now.

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