Articles Posted in Crane Accident

Caterpillar Inc. purchased a factory owned by Bucyrus International located in Milwaukee. That facility was making strip-mining equipment. Because of the purchase, Caterpillar assumed the labor contract Bucyrus previously had negotiated with the United Steelworkers Union.

About two months after the July 2011 purchase, a 36-ton piece of machinery called a “crawler” crushed and killed a union worker at the Caterpillar plant.

The crawler apparently had shifted suddenly while being rotated by a crane, resulting in the fatality. Caterpillar reported the death to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and to the local police.

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On Aug. 18, 2009, Douglas Anoman, a radio technician employed by Bartronics LLC, was working at the defendants’ Scrap Metal Services LLC and SMS Mill Services LLC steel mill in Burns Harbor, Ind. The purpose of working there was to service a crane radio. After Anoman removed the radio from the overhead crane cab, he fell while descending a 6-foot ladder and fractured his knee.

Anoman, 46, initially underwent open reduction internal fixation surgery with surgically inserted plates and screws, but eventually he required a total knee replacement arthroplasty.

Anoman maintained at trial that he expended $175,575 for medical expenses and lost $1,035,000 for past and future work and/or reduced earnings as a radio technician.

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Dwayne Gitter was a union electrician working at an exhibit center disassembling the electrical supply to the lighting that had been used at a recently completed trade show. He was standing on a scissors lift platform when the lift toppled from the weight of heavy electrical cables. Gitter fell 30 feet to the floor below.

As a result of the fall, Gitter, 53, suffered fractures to his left wrist, elbow, hip and four ribs. He also suffered a punctured lung. He underwent open reduction internal fixation of the fractures and surgery to reposition his ulnar nerve in his wrist.

Gitter was hospitalized for almost 2 weeks and underwent about 6 weeks of painful physical rehabilitation. Following that he was in outpatient for physical therapy. The past medical expenses that he incurred were paid by his workers’ compensation carrier.

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Allen Ginn, the owner of a trucking company, drove his truck to a sawmill to unload the logs he was hauling. When he reached his designated unloading area, the mill employees instructed him to release the tie-down straps on his load. As he did that, a log fell onto him striking him directly on the head and back.

Ginn was 49 years old at the time and suffered a subdural hematoma, a subarachnoid hemorrhage and skull fractures. He also had spinal fractures at L1-3 and fractures to his right hip and the right side of his pelvis. He was in a coma for several days. He later went through a regimen of physical therapy and rehabilitation.

As a result of this incident, Ginn has suffered a brain injury, occasional seizures, memory loss and chronic fatigue. He will likely require supervision and assistance with daily living activities well into the future.

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Adam Nowak was installing electrical equipment at an energy plant when a crane hook fell about 60 feet from an overhead crane, which struck and killed him. Mr. Nowak was an electrician working for Matrix Service Co., and he was installing electrical equipment at the Veolia Energy’s Schuylkill Steam Plant. 

The lawsuit for the wrongful death of Mr. Nowak was brought by his wife, Michele Nowak, and filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The defendants in the case included Veolia, which owned the crane, and Permadur Industries, which was contracted to do repairs and annual inspections of the crane. Another defendant in the case, Kenny Construction Co., was the contractor of Mr. Nowak’s employer. 

The lawsuit alleged that Veolia was negligent for choosing not to correctly maintain the crane’s limit switch, which was designed to prevent “two-blocking,” a design feature that is used when a crane hook is raised too high. In this case, when the crane hook was raised too high, the cable holding the hook snapped and the hook fell to the ground, killing Mr. Nowak. 

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Deirdre Hastings was an ironworker employed by Area Erectors Inc.On March 5, 2007, Hastings was unloading steel beams from the bed of a flatbed truck. The steel beams were hooked to a 90-ton hydraulic crane, which would move the steel onto the building that was being constructed. 

The crane was rented from the defendant Jefco Equipment Co. The crane was being operated by Greg Windbiel, who performed the work for Jefco, although he was  employed by Area. 

As the beam was being guided by Hastings, the beam struck her on the chest, knocking her to the ground with the beam falling on her right leg, breaking it.

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