New Crane Safety Efforts in NY Following Deadly Collapse

NEW YORK CITY – Mayor Bill De Blasio has unveiled new steps that will require contractors to stop operating “crawlers” whenever meteorologists forecast steady winds of higher than 20 miles per hour (32 km per hour) and gusts of more than 30 miles mph (48 kph).

More than 300 non-stationary crawler cranes were operating in the city last week.

De Blasio said the city would also step up efforts to protect pedestrians in areas where cranes are operating and to notify residents and businesses in the vicinity of an operating crane.

Last week, a 38-year-old man was killed when the five-story crane came crashing down on him as he walked down the street. Three others sustained non-life-threatening injuries when falling debris hit them.

The collapse happened as the crew was lowering the crane due to high winds. A veteran operator was inside the control cab when it flipped upside down. The crew was trying to lower the arm into the safety position — an upside-down V — right over West Broadway.

The city has come under fire for what critics say has been a slow response to a series of recommendations made by a study commissioned to improve safety at work sites at a time when the city is enjoying a surge in construction.

The Department of Buildings will also raise the fine for failure to comply with regulations from $4,800 to $10,000.