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Human error may have caused fatal crane accident

Shipbuilders in New York may be all too familiar with the many things that can go wrong in a shipyard. While a misstep can cause a shipyard employee’s own injury or fatality, mistakes due to negligence, noncompliance or carelessness can just as easily affect those in the surrounding area. When it comes to heavy equipment, the responsibility is high for those who operate it, and also those who perform maintenance and ensure that safety standards are met.

The collapse of a tower crane killed five workers who were in a break area on an oil platform being built by Samsung Heavy Industries. Authorities speculate that the workers responsible for operating and signaling may have made errors that caused the heavily loaded tower crane to collide with a gantry crane. An investigation into the circumstances is ongoing, and compliance issues with the equipment have not been ruled out as a factor in the accident.

First responders believe that those who died on the scene were struck directly by the crane or its load. A metal chain also crashed into the break area and may have been responsible for the injuries of some of the 20 or more workers affected. One of these victims later died from his injuries.

New Yorkers who are hurt in shipyard accidents may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and related costs through the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. An attorney may be able to help gather the documentation and evidence that could lead to financial assistance under this law, or through other means.

Source: The Maritime Executive, “Death Toll Rises in Shipyard Crane Accident,” May 2, 2017

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