“Manhattan has no choice but the skyward extrusion of the Grid itself; only the skyscraper offers business the wide-open spaces of a man-made Wild West, a frontier in the sky.”
– Rem Koolhaas, famous Dutch architect
Cranes form the cornerstone on which modern construction stands. With space limited and urban populations increasing, cities are experiencing vertical growth like never before. Multistoried skyscrapers no longer excite comment but have become part of normal American life. This makes cranes an invaluable asset for construction firms.
Most construction companies that operate cranes do not actually own them but obtain them on lease. These leases can extend from a few days to few months depending on the work involved. The operator may also be provided by the crane company or can be a qualified employee from the construction firm itself. Training is obtained either in vocational schools, on the job or in the military.
Before any crane contractor can start work, he must obtain a operating permit from the state. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) of the US Department of Labor only recognizes the National Commission of Certification for Crane Operators (NCCCO) for official licensing. In order to apply to the NCCCO the operator have at least 1,000 hours of on the job training and be in prime physical health.
Insurance companies offering crane insurance provide coverage of the following:
1. General Liability – Covers any fault by the construction company during operation of the crane. It protects the insured from the risks of liabilities imposed by lawsuits and similar claims by any third party.
2. Property and Equipment – Protects against physical and mechanical damage to the crane and covers cost of replacement. The coverage includes boom overload, over-the-road liability, loss of income and extra expense, loss of rents, custody and control and attachments coverage.
3. Auto Liability and Physical Damage – Cranes can be either driven or transported via a tractor trailer. Cranes that can be driven are considered mobile equipment and are covered under auto liability insurance.
4. Workers Compensation – Covers health and well-being of workers at the construction site where crane is being used. If due to the cranes operation a worker is injured, the insurance provider will cover cost of treatment. In the event of death or disability, the insurer will pay out compensation as well.
5. Excess/Umbrella Liability – This provides additional cover than what is specified above. Also, it protects the insurer against events like earthquakes and floods that may not be covered by the aforementioned policies.
Before providing coverage, crane insurance companies consider the following potential areas of loss:
1. Injuries caused by falling debris lifted by the insured crane
2. Injuries caused by the cranes swinging boom (a boom is the extended arm of the crane).
3. Injuries caused by slips, trips or falls in the premises where the insured crane is being operated.
4. Injuries caused to outsiders, especially children who may find a crane an attractive plaything.