The Hidden Risks of Bringing a Crane onto Your Job Site

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By Travelers
14 minutes

Video #1  Video #2  Video #3  Video #4  Video #5  Video #6  Video #7

Cranes can be the most productive pieces of equipment on a construction site, and they can also be the most dangerous. Whether your construction firm works with cranes on a regular basis or only hires them for a small subset of jobs, bringing a crane onto the job site comes with a unique set of risks – even if you choose to lease a crane that comes with a qualified operator. We explore real-life crane accidents and discuss lessons learned, as well as the responsibilities that general contractors and subcontractors face with crane operations.

Video #1

No Such Thing As a Minor Crane Accident

“Within the crane industry, contracts tend to use similar verbiage and they pass much of the responsibility for crane operations to the lessee. Generally speaking, there's not a lot of room for a contractor to transfer that risk back to that crane company. Therefore, what that does is put a burden on that contractor who's renting the crane to really understand what they're responsible for.”

- Hank Dutton, Senior Specialist, Travelers

Video #2

Crane Accidents from a Claim Perspective

“My advice to this audience is to start with the assumption that risk transfer ends with the party that hires the crane and the operator. I think if you start with that general premise, it will help create the mindset in your company of how to best manage your crane-related operations going forward.”

- Thad Doyle, Assistant Vice President of Claim Business Practices, Travelers

Video #3

Accidents Involving Rented Cranes

“I have been involved in numerous crane accident investigations. And one theme that definitely holds true above everything is that there are generally no winners when crane accidents occur. Crane accidents can involve property damage, worker injury and death, in addition to the damage caused to the equipment, which could even total out the crane resulting in millions of dollars going out the door.”

- Hank Dutton, Senior Specialist, Travelers

Video #4

Far-Reaching Liability

“It's highly recommended that companies involve their legal counsel when it comes to deciding who’s going to contract with a crane company. Who's going to provide that crane operator? Who’s going to be responsible for what with those crane operations, as well as the other terms and conditions that will be agreed upon? That way they can help ensure that all parties feel like that they've been protected in a way that's acceptable to them.”

- Hank Dutton, Senior Specialist, Travelers

Video #5

Understanding General Contractor Exposures

“In this particular issue, the contract documents, and even the health and safety plan, stated affirmatively that the general contractor would be involved in crane operations, including weather-related risks which led to this incident. And on that particular day, the general contractor was not even on site, and that contradicted exactly with what their own documents said they would do.”

- Thad Doyle, Assistant Vice President of Claim Business Practices, Travelers

Video #6

How to Mitigate Crane Risks

 "A successful lift begins with good planning. It's like the old adage—you know how it goes—fail to plan, plan to fail, and so this plan is very important. And the plan needs to be developed by qualified personnel who understand the hazards that are involved in lifting operations. And these may be a little bit more than what maybe a contractor normally does.”

- Hank Dutton, Senior Specialist, Travelers

Video #7

P.R.E.P. (Prepare, Reap, Educate, Process)

“When I think about things that I’d like for people in today’s call to take away from here, those of us in insurance, we really like acronyms and there is one acronym that comes to mind. And it’s P.R.E.P. You know, preventing crane accidents is better than relying on contracts for protection.”

- Hank Dutton, Senior Specialist, Travelers

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