A crane operator and contractor have been cited by city building officials following a New York City construction accident that injured seven workers at an apartment tower last month.
Our Queens construction accident lawyers have learned that a total of five citations involving the crane were issued, including failure to inspect equipment, failure to take proper precautions and failure to implement safe operating procedures.
The crane reportedly collapsed as it was trying to heft more than double its maximum load capacity, according to investigating city officials.
Both the operator and the contractor are facing $65,000 in fines – each. The site safety manager and the developer were also cited with single violations for flouting safety procedures.
In a written statement, city officials said no one on that site was making sure the work being performed was done according to the plans that had already been approved.
The accident was the latest in a series of high-rise crane collapses throughout the city in the last several years, prompting increasing concern over whether companies are doing all they can to keep not only their workers safe, but residents, motorists and passersby.
In 2008, there were two fatal crane collapses, which prompted a number of procedural reforms. In one case, there were even criminal charges filed.
But then last spring, a crane fell onto a worker, fatally injuring him at a subway construction site. As it turned out, that location was reportedly exempt from the city’s safety rules.
There have been numerous other incidents where cranes came close to falling apart or dropped heavy loads onto workers. One case was heavily covered in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, when a crane boom dangled dangerous over a midtown Manhattan block for days before officials were able to safely secure it.
The incident last month thankfully didn’t result in any deaths, but a handful of workers did have to be plied out from underneath tons of heavy equipment after the crane’s boom fell down and knocked over a huge portion of the structure’s wooden frame in Queens. At the time, the machine’s operator was attempting to lift nearly 25,000 pounds worth of material. The operator couldn’t see what all was being lifted and was actually trying to move the load outside of the approved zone.
The license of that operator has been suspended.
Crane work at the site is still on hold for now, though it’s believed the construction firm’s stop work order has been lifted.
Perhaps more troubling is that at the same time all of this is going on, two city crane inspectors are in trouble for reportedly accepting kickbacks from construction firms to sign off on inspections that weren’t done. In the first case, an inspector admitted to accepting some $10,000 in bribes to produce fraudulent crane inspection reports.
In another case, an inspector was criminally charged with pretending to have conducted inspections he actually had not – including one involving the crane collapse that killed seven workers in 2009. He was acquitted on charges related to the crane, but was convicted of falsifying records. He was able to escape prison time, instead ordered to complete 1,000 hours of community service and pay a $5,000 fine.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations. Call 1-877-313-7673.
Crane collapse update: Operator of NYC crane and contractor cited for accident, Jan. 30, 2013, By Jennifer Peltz, Associated Press
More Blog Entries:
Fatal Crane Accident in Manhattan Brings Up Safety Concerns — Again, April 10, 2012, Manhattan Construction Injury Lawyer Blog