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When a crane operator decides to use a cellphone on the job

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2021 | Third-Party Liability

With work colleagues like this, you really need to stay alert and on your toes. On the other side of the nation in New York, a crane operator working on a 12-story apartment building received his comeuppance for a major safety violation that could have proven injurious or fatal to fellow construction workers.

What did he do? And what was his punishment? While working at a construction site last summer in the Bronx, the crane operator was observed talking on a cellphone while handling the colossal machine. And even more disturbing was that he was doing so while using the crane to lift steel 120 feet into the air. In January, building inspectors slapped him with a $10,000 fine.

Struck-by accident avoided

The incident represents an example of third-party negligence. In this case, the crane operator’s actions could have led to tragedy, but, luckily, they did not.

According to the inspectors’ alarming report in the Bronx incident, the crane operator had both hands and his eyes focused on his mobile phone. And he did so while a steel beam —  fastened to the crane’s hook — was manipulated by other workers trying to connect it to the structure’s columns.

Carelessness like this can lead to what is known as a “struck-by accident” in which a construction worker sustains an injury after becoming in contact with an object or piece of equipment. Such an accident is among the quartet of construction-related accidents known as the industry’s “Focus Four Hazards” as named by the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA).

These four accidents – falls, caught-in/in-between, struck-by and electrocutions — accounted for 60% of the fatalities in the construction industry.

Construction work is dangerous and that is why a continued focus on proper training and safety exist. There is no room for negligence in the construction industry. If your injury is caused by a third-party contractor, you must advocate for yourself.  In the case of the Bronx crane operator, that man’s fellow workers avoided what could have proven to be a tragedy.