As the entire Northeast coast continues its recovery after Superstorm Sandy, one of the most spectral sights of the damage is along the Manhattan skyline, where a crane dangled perilously at 74 stories above 57th Street.
Queens personal injury lawyers know that while high wind has been cited as a primary factor in the reason the crane became unhinged, many have pointed to a lack of preparation on the part of the crane’s owner prior to the storm. Indeed, the contractor has been cited numerous times for previous safety violations, according to NBC News – including in March, April and August.
This goes to illustrating the bigger picture here, which is the responsibility construction companies, machine owners and contractors have in properly maintaining and securing equipment, as well as having in place adequate and enforced safety policies.
Without these, it certainly doesn’t take a hurricane to spur a tragedy.
Just look at the recent history with regard to crane collapses and accidents in New York City alone. In April, a New Jersey worker died and four more were severely injured at a crane accident that occurred at the No. 7 Train construction site in New York City. In that case, the 170-foot crane cracked and an 80-foot-section and a 40-foot section fell. Investigators determined safety procedures at that site were lacking, and the crane had been overloaded.
And then back in 2008, four people were killed and a dozen more were injured when a crane atop a high rise construction site on the East Side of Manhattan fell, broke into sections and crushed those underneath. On that day, the sun was shining and there was no wind, according to The New York Times.
Then in 2010, a crane being used in the construction of an apartment building on East 91st Street came crashing down, killing two workers, including the operator of the crane.
The owner of that construction company was later prosecuted in criminal court, with the state attorney alleging that greed had caused him to overlook critical safety standards, ultimately resulting in the fatalities. It would reportedly have cost him $20,000 to replace a faulty part on the machine, but he would have lost approximately $50,000 a day for as long as the machine remained idle. He instead opted for cheap repairs.
He had faced up to 15 years if convicted of manslaughter, though he was later found not guilty.
However, the mechanic who conducted the repairs pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide.
These are preventable deaths.
Thankfully, there have been no reports of injury at the cite of the dangling crane on 57th Street, though workers with the city Department of Buildings and the crane owner have spent nearly 40 hours slowly and steadily shifting the machine sideways so it could be secured to the yet-unfinished residential building.
Again, though the wind has been cited in this dangerous situation, there were many other cranes that were similarly situated that did not end up in the same position. Why? Writers for Popular Mechanics posit that the crane operator must properly lower the boom and then take the brake off. If that wasn’t done correctly, which it appears it may not have been, someone should have caught it whether the operator, site supervisor or inspector.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations to those injured in crane accidents or construction accidents in New York City. Call 1-877-313-7673.
Dangling crane at 57th St. secured six days after snapping in Hurricane Sandy, Nov. 5, 2012, By Greg B. Smith, New York Daily News
What Caused the NYC Crane Accident? Nov. 2, 2012, By Mary Beth Griggs, Popular Mechanics
More Blog Entries:
Queens Injury Lawyers Urge Caution for Hurricane Sandy, Oct. 29, 2012, Manhattan Personal Injury Lawyer Blog