Fatal Occupational Injuries Involving Cranes

From 2011 to 2015, the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reported 220 total crane-related deaths, an average of 44 per year over this 5-year period. Men accounted for 217 of the 220 fatal injuries involving cranes. White, non-Hispanic workers accounted for 74 percent of fatal injuries involving cranes, while 14 percent involved Hispanic and Latino workers.

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Event or Exposure
Just over half of all fatal crane injuries involved the worker being struck by an object or equipment. More than three-fifths of these cases (69 of 112) involved the worker being struck by a falling object or equipment; in 60 of these cases, the worker was struck by an object falling from a crane. Transportation incidents and falls to a lower level each made up 14 percent of the remaining fatal injuries involving cranes.

Industry and Occupation
From 2011 to 2015, 42 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 2011–15 were to workers in transportation and material moving occupations. Over half of these workers were crane operators. Another 30 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 22 percent of cases. One-quarter of all fatal crane injuries occurred at a construction site (except road construction). Twenty-four percent occurred at a factory or plant, while another 8 percent occurred at a road construction site.

State of Incident
Texas had almost as many fatal occupational injuries due to cranes as the next four states combined from 2011 to 2015. The following table shows the five states with the most fatal injuries due to cranes.

Fatal occupational injuries involving cranes by state, 2011–15
State of incidentNumber of fatal injuries involving cranes











This article includes all cases from 2011 to 2015 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 at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/pdf/homch9.pdf.

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: November 27, 2017