New York skyscrapers and other buildings require large cranes to erect them. The masses of building materials and the enormous heights to which they must be raised make it a practical impossibility to work on a construction site in the city without cranes.

However, there is no national system to ensure that the crane operators are trained or accredited. Although there are voluntary standards to which many companies adhere, no law prevents untrained or improperly trained individuals from operating a crane.

Operating a crane is a specialized and difficult task, and there are many factors that can go wrong. Operator error has been found to be the root cause of many crane accidents, and fatalities have happened. Although many responsible companies require their operators to complete training with the NCCO, or National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators, there is no legal mechanism to require them to do so or to bar operators who have not done so. The dangers to other employees, construction site equipment, infrastructure and bystanders have been found, time and again, to be very real.

Because of their immense size and lofty position, few people on a construction site are safe from a crane accident. If an employee has the misfortune to be injured by an improperly operated crane, then they may decide to seek workers’ compensation payments as they rest and recuperate. Workers’ compensations might possibly be offered to an injured worker, but if they are not, or if the amount offered is insufficient, then the worker may choose to accept the payments offered or to withdraw their claim and file a civil suit against their employer. An attorney may be able to help them decide which of these options to pursue.

Source: Reporter Newspaper, “Construction cranes: Who keeps them safe?”, John Ruch, March 4, 2016