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Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities

Fact Sheet | Fatal Occupational Injuries Involving Cranes | May 2019

Fatal Occupational Injuries Involving Cranes

From 2011 to 2017, the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reported 297 total crane-related deaths, an average of 42 per year over this 7-year period. Men accounted for 293 of the 297 fatal injuries involving cranes. White, non-Hispanic workers accounted for 72 percent of fatal injuries involving cranes, while 15 percent involved Hispanic and Latino workers.

Event or Exposure

Just over half of all fatal crane injuries involved the worker being struck by an object or equipment. About three-fifths of these cases (91 of 154) involved the worker being struck by a falling object or equipment; in 79 of these cases, the worker was struck by an object falling from or put in motion by a crane. Transportation incidents and falls to a lower level each made up about 13 and 14 percent of the remaining fatal injuries involving cranes, respectively.

Industry and Occupation

From 2011 to 2017, 43 percent of fatal work injuries involving cranes took place in the private construction industry. Specialty trade contractors and heavy and civil engineering construction had the most fatal injuries involving cranes in private construction. The manufacturing industry accounted for another 24 percent of crane deaths.

One-third of all worker deaths involving cranes in 2011–17 were to workers in transportation and material moving occupations. Over half of these workers were crane operators. Another 31 percent of worker deaths involving cranes occurred to workers in construction and extraction occupations.

Worker Activity and Location

The worker was operating a crane at the time of the fatal injury in 22 percent of cases. The worker was engaged in construction, assembling, and dismantling activities in another 23 percent of cases. Just over one-quarter of all fatal crane injuries (27%) occurred at a construction site (except road construction). Twenty-four percent occurred at a factory or plant, another 8 percent occurred at a road construction site, and 6 percent occurred at a dockyard.

State of Incident

Texas had more fatal occupational injuries due to cranes as the next three states combined from 2011 to 2017. The following table shows the five states with the most fatal injuries due to cranes.

Fatal occupational injuries involving cranes by state, 2011–17
State of incident Number of fatal injuries involving cranes





New York






This article includes all cases from 2011 to 2017 where the primary source or secondary source of the fatal incident was a crane or the worker’s activity at the time of the fatal incident involved operating a crane. The primary and secondary sources identify the objects, substances, equipment, and other factors responsible for the fatal injury incurred by the worker or that precipitated the event or exposure. Primary source, secondary source, and event or exposure are all part of the Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System, which CFOI uses to code case characteristics associated with each fatal injury.

Background information

For technical information and definitions, please see the BLS Handbook of Methods.

A crane-involved fatality is one where the primary or secondary source is a crane or the worker activity is operating crane. Primary and secondary source are defined by the Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System (OIICS).

You can obtain data from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program by using the following tools: Create Customized Tables (Multiple Screens), Create Customized Tables (Single Screen), and the Online Profiles System. Additional tables and charts are on the IIF homepage and the IIF State page.


Last Modified Date: August 24, 2023