Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Crane Accidents

Published on:

Crane in New YorkTo reduce the number of crane accidents, OSHA has been working on a new rule that would require crane operators to be certified. The certification requirement was supposed to come into effect on November 10th 2017. However one day before, on November 9th, OSHA published a Final Rule postponing this requirement for an additional year. The  Final Rule indicates that “OSHA is delaying its deadline for employers to ensure that crane operators are certified by one year until November 10, 2018. OSHA is also extending its employer duty to ensure that crane operators are competent to operate a crane safely for

the same one-year period.”

This is the second time that OSHA postponed this rule since 2014. OSHA indicated that it still needs to address the two following concerns:

Published on:

crane in New yorkDespite multiple past crane accidents that have proven that crane operators needed to be trained and certified, OSHA one more time wants to delay the effective date of its new crane operator requirement. The original planned date was in 2014.  This extension follows President Trump’s directive that all federal agencies re-review pending regulations. At a time when the construction industry is booming the number of cranes in use is at his highest and so is the risk of accident. Continuing to delay this rule is putting construction workers and the public at higher risk of accidents especially in New York City which is one of the cities with the highest number of cranes in activity.

The City of  New York however didn’t wait for OSHA to strengthen crane rules. After 38 year old David Wichs was killed in a crane collapse in downtown Manhattan, the city requested a mandatory suspension of crane operations when wind gusts record 30 mph and above. A study was also commissioned and some of the recommendations included the requirement to use modern cranes with anemometers, black boxes and GPS. Our New York Crane Accident Lawyer Howard Hershenhorn represents the widow of David Wichs.

Picture: courtesy of Pixabay

Published on:

A crane operator and a construction worker were killed Tuesday when a 6,500-pound beam came crashing down at a Queens construction site, authorities said. A preliminary investigation determined that the incident, which took place shortly after 12 p.m. in the Briarwood neighborhood, was the result of a “material failure” with the crane, said Rick Chandler, commissioner of the New York City Department of Buildings. The rigging system used to hoist the beam snapped, causing it to fall four stories, he said. It appears that the cause was a failure of the Crane’s rigging system. There have been a number of Crane Accidents at New York City Construction Sites this year. Our Crane Accident Lawyers are representing victims in several of these accidents. See prior blog. Read more in New York Times.

Published on:

Three_World_Trade_Center_-_2015_renderThankfully nobody was injured in a New York crane accident last Thursday. Construction workers at the WTC site were pulling the unloaded line and hook of a crane standing on the top of a building under construction when the accident happened. The workers had been instructed to do so as a safety measure before a coming storm. A gust of wind sent a weighted ball attached to the crane’s line into a glass panel of the 3 World Trade Center building. Nobody was injured as the accident happened in the restricted perimeter of the WTC construction site.  John Gallager, the spokesman for  Tishman Construction said in a statement to the press that the glass window would be replaced and that the accident was being investigated.Read more in CBS New York

Wind and storms have been the cause of many crane accidents in New York City. Last February, David Wichs, who’s family is represented by our NYC crane accident attorney Howard  Hershenhorn, lost his life after the wind caused a giant crane to collapse on him. After the accident the city immediately increased mandatory safety measures for crane operators and created a special team to work on additional measures to prevent such accidents.

Picture: rendering of 3 World Trade Center courtesy of Wikipedia

Published on:

Tappan_Zee_Bridge_tower_construction_NY14 people were injured in a crane accident in New York. A giant crane collapsed  on Tuesday around noon on the Tappan Zee bridge landing on the 8 lanes of the highway (see video). It is a miracle that no vehicle were struck by the crane and nobody was killed in the accident said New York Governor Cuomo in a press conference in Tarrytown, NY.  Only 3 motorists trying to avoid the falling crane and a construction worker were treated for minor injuries. Witnesses said they saw the crane operating normally and all of sudden falling sideways on the highway blocking the traffic in both ways for the whole afternoon.

28 cranes like this one are operating on the Tappan Zee Bridge construction site which is the largest infrastructure project in the US. The crane was a new MLC 300 manufactured by Manitowoc Cranes with a 256 feet long boom. At the time of the accident, construction workers were using a vibratory hammer to install pilings, a routine task that is not considered dangerous or challenging.

Officials are investigating the cause of the collapse. They said the wind wasn’t an issue. The operator of the crane stayed at the scene and was tested for drugs and alcohol.

Published on:

Crane ReportFollowing the fatal collapse of a crane in  lower Manhattan last February, Mayor de Blasio and NYC building commissioner Rick Chandler created the Crane Safety Technical Working Group. The mission of this independent group of experts was to assess actual New York crane safety regulations and provide a set of  recommendations to improve existing regulations and limit further crane accidents in New York City. A few days ago the group released a report that includes  23 recommendations to improve crane safety in New York City.

The group noted that despite having some of the most comprehensive crane safety regulations in the world, the NYC  Department of Buildings hasn’t comprehensively revised and updated these regulations since 2008. In between technology and best practices have evolved tremendously. A new effort to update regulations was launched by the DOB  last year but nothing has been released yet. Therefore the Crane Safety Technical Working Group proposes that the Department of Buildings integrates the Crane Safety Technical Working Group recommendations with their ongoing efforts to update the existing crane regulations.

In its recommendations, the group suggests:

Published on:

New York Wrongful Death Lawyer Howard HershenhornThe widow of David Wichs who was killed by a crane that collapsed on a New York Street (see previous post) is intending to sue the City for $600M. Rebecca Wichs who is represented by our partner, New York crane accident attorney Howard Hershenhorn, filed a notice of claim last week with the New York City Comptroller. Her husband David Wichs was walking on Worth Street, in downtown Manhattan, when a crane fell in the street and killed him. Rebecca Wichs is seeking $550 for wrongful death, $25 million for conscious pain and suffering and $25 million for loss of services.

Rebecca Wichs claims that The City was negligent in the manner in which they supervised the construction site.  It is also claimed The City failed to proprely consider the weather conditions in their decision making process. Knowing about the heavy snow and winds that were forecast for that day, The City should have ordered the lowering and securing of the crane the day before the collapse.

Read more in the New York Law Journal and on CBS News

Published on:

 

liftA hydraulic crane crashed into a building in New York yesterday. The accident occurred at 133 Essex Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Witnesses living in the neighborhood told the NY Daily News that they had been worrying about the crane for a few days. They mentioned that the crane was “funny looking”. Before crashing into a window of the building’s 6th floor the crane slowly tipped for two hours. After the accident, the FDNY received a request from the DOB to conduct a structural stability inspection. The results show the stability of the building was satisfactory but officials still ordered tenants from the top floors to evacuate their apartments.

The NYC Department of Building issued a stop work order for the construction site. In the past the construction site was hit with several complaints and violations. They have all been resolved or dismissed with the exception of a violation related to the elevator. The contractor,  Jepol Construction, was also hit with a violation for “failure to safeguard the site”.

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia shows the type of crane that crashed into the building

 

 

Published on:

deblasioA week after a man died in a crane collapse in New York, the Mayor announced that the city will kick off a massive inspection blitz of construction sites and quadruple penalties for serious violations of safety on construction sites. The construction boom in the city has led to a dramatic increase of construction accidents. Last year there were 433 accidents, an increase of 75%  compared to 2014. Before the boom in 2009 there were  218 accidents, 98% less than in 2015.  According to DOT investigations, most of the construction accidents that happened last year in New York City could have been prevented if the contractor had simply followed the existing safety rules. Unfortunately too often contractors and developers are cutting corners and putting the life of their workers at risk to increase their profit.

Despite the cold weather Mayor de Blasio held his press conference in front of a East Village Construction site where a construction worker fell to his death on Christmas Eve. 33 year old Luis Alberto Pomboza, was working on the renovation of a multi-family  townhouse at 356 East 8th Street. Pomboza was demolishing a wall when a large portion of the wall fell on him and caused him to fall 4 stories. An Ecuadorian immigrant and father of 5, Pomboza was transported to the hospital in critical condition. He later died there from serious head trauma.  The construction site superintendent who was legally required to be on the construction site to ensure the safety of workers and the public wasn’t there when the accident happened. De Blasio indicated that last year 70% of the construction accidents in New York City occurred in buildings with 10 stories or less. Therefore the investigation blitz  that starts this week will focus on these types of construction sites. Inspectors will target contractors with bad safety records and working on buildings lower than 10 stories as well as all construction sites higher than 15 stories. The DOB will inspect a total of 1,500 job sites in the 90 coming days.

Fines for “serious failures to safeguard construction sites” will increase from $2,400 to $10,000 and if the construction site is lacking a site superintendent the penalty will reach a maximum of $25,000 instead of $5,000. Additionally starting in July, superintendents will be required for all major construction projects at buildings under 10 stories. Superintendents will be required to log daily reviews of site safety.

Published on:

deblasioAs the investigation continues into the causes of Friday’s fatal crane accident in Lower Manhattan, De Blasio announced new safety measures that took place yesterday.  The measures are temporary while a task force will draft long term safety measures over the next 90 days. One of the measures requires crawler cranes to stop operating and to go into safety mode when the wind forecast are for steady winds speeds of 20 miles per hour or higher or gusts of at least 30 mph. Before the rule was respectively 30 mph for steady winds and 40 mph for gusts of wind. Additionally cranes will have to be brought to safety the day before winds are forecasted  to be above the security level.  Pedestrian security will be enforced with the help of the Department of Buildings, Department of Transportation, NYPD, and FDNY anytime there will be a securing of a crane. Before that only construction workers were responsible to secure the site. Nearby residents will not only be informed about when a crane is installed but also when it is moved.

Read the transcript of the Press Conference