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Negligence possibly the cause of Seattle crane disaster

Ever since Saturday afternoon, people across the state and the country have been speculating what led up to the devastating crane collapse in Seattle. King5 News in Seattle reports that the Washington Department of Labor and Industries wrapped up its inspection of the scene, but the investigation is not over yet.

The investigation may not be over, but the guesses of what caused the accident are still filling the news.

What we know about the accident

The construction crane collapsed on Seattle’s busy Mercer Street on April 27. NBC News reported that the collapse left four people dead and four injured, including a college student and two former U.S. Marines. Law enforcement and the Washington Department of Labor and Industries suspect two causes at the moment, including:

  1. Weather and wind
  2. Human error

So far, various construction experts are leaning more towards human error. They believe that the staff did not follow the proper instructions for disassembling the mast of the crane. Now there are five construction companies under investigation for the accident.

Crane operation requires extensive training

According to the NBC article, there is a fairly new rule that crane operators must participate in ongoing training throughout their career. That is because working with cranes is one of the most dangerous aspects of construction work.

Companies and contractors hoped the training would help combat that danger. The training would prevent crane operators from growing too comfortable and lead them to check the crane thoroughly after assembly and before disassembly. This training has been in place only since February.

What will happen moving forward?

Regardless of what caused the accident, the injured parties and the families who lost loved ones should have the right to pursue compensation. And it seems likely that error and negligence caused this tragedy. The crane collapse meets all of the factors required for a negligence claim, including:

  • The breach of the duty that the construction companies or workers owed to avoid negligence and keep the public safe
  • The construction companies and workers were aware of the dangers involved in disassembling the crane
  • The negligence of that duty resulted in injuries, death and losses

Construction experts state that if workers disregard the rules and instructions that manufacturers provide, failure and injuries are inevitable. And it is their responsibility to prevent those injuries to the best of their abilities.