offshore crane loading cargo onto smaller vesselCranes are used on seafaring vessels and offshore operations to assist with a number of construction, repair, and loading tasks. Cranes pose dangers to operators and workers in the area when they are on solid ground. Add the complicating factor of being on the water and the danger multiplies.

If you are injured in a crane accident on navigable waters, you are likely covered by the Jones Act for your medical care, lost wages, and other damages. Because the Jones Act allows injured workers to pursue negligence claims in addition to these benefits if another party was at fault for the crane accident, it is vital that you consult a maritime injury lawyer to understand your rights.

At Hofmann & Schweitzer, we have been helping maritime workers for nearly 50 years. Trust us with your offshore crane accident to ensure that you get the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.

Common Causes of Offshore Crane Accidents

The unique challenges of working in offshore environments, coupled with the complexity of crane operations, contribute to the occurrence of accidents. Some of the factors that lead to offshore crane accidents include the following.

Harsh Environmental Conditions

Offshore operations often take place in challenging environments, including open seas, high winds, and adverse weather conditions. These factors can affect crane stability, making it more susceptible to accidents. Wind-induced loads, wave motions, and unpredictable weather patterns increase the complexity of crane operations.

Equipment Failure

Offshore cranes, subjected to continuous use and exposure to harsh elements, may experience mechanical failures. Components such as cables, pulleys, and hydraulic systems can deteriorate over time, leading to malfunctions and accidents. Regular maintenance and thorough inspections are crucial for preventing equipment failures.

Lack of Proper Training

Inadequate training of crane operators and personnel involved in offshore lifting operations is a significant contributor to accidents. Operating cranes in challenging conditions requires specialized skills and knowledge. Insufficient training can lead to errors in load calculations, improper use of equipment, and misjudgments of environmental factors.

Human Error

Human factors play a pivotal role in offshore crane accidents. Miscommunication, distraction, fatigue, and stress can compromise decision-making and lead to mistakes during critical lifting operations. Establishing a strong safety culture that emphasizes effective communication, proper rest, and adherence to protocols is essential for minimizing human errors.

Lack of Pre-Operation Planning

Inadequate pre-operation planning is a common cause of offshore crane accidents. Failure to conduct thorough risk assessments, consider environmental conditions, and establish clear communication protocols can result in accidents during lifting operations. Rigorous planning and adherence to safety guidelines are crucial for preventing incidents.

Overloading and Unstable Loads

Overloading is a significant risk factor in offshore crane accidents. Incorrect load calculations or lifting loads beyond the crane's capacity can lead to instability and structural failure. Rigorous adherence to load limits and proper load calculations are essential for preventing overloading incidents.

Poor Visibility

Limited visibility due to fog, rain, or darkness can compromise the safety of offshore crane operations. Crane operators may struggle to assess environmental conditions accurately, increasing the risk of accidents. The use of advanced visibility enhancement technologies and proper lighting can mitigate the impact of poor visibility.

Inadequate Maintenance and Inspections

Insufficient maintenance and irregular inspections of offshore cranes contribute to accidents. Over time, corrosion, wear and tear, and structural issues may go unnoticed, leading to catastrophic failures during lifting operations. Regular and thorough maintenance, coupled with stringent inspection protocols, is essential for identifying and addressing potential issues.

Were You Hurt in an Offshore Crane Accident?

Regardless of how the crane accident happened, you are eligible for benefits similar to workers’ comp for other types of jobs. However, cranes don’t usually fail all by themselves. If safety protocols were violated, coworkers were reckless, or machinery malfunctioned, you could also have a Jones Act claim for negligence. A successful claim would significantly increase your compensation. Our maritime injury team can assess your situation and let you know what you could be entitled to in a free consultation.

Paul T. Hofmann
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Focused on personal injury, with an emphasis on maritime, railroad and construction worker tort claims.