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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

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crane in New yorkOn April 26th, as part of the second National Stand-Down to prevent struck by accidents among construction workers, two free webinars will be offered by the NORA Construction Sector Council.

The first webinar will take place from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and will focus on preventing struck by-accidents that occur around cranes and during lifting operations. According to statistics from the Center for Construction Research and Training, one crane accident occurs for every 10,000 hours of use. Crane collapsing or crane tipping are among the most common crane accidents. In these types of accidents, construction workers have a high risk to be crushed not only by the crane but also by the heavy material carried by the crane.  Most of the time these accidents occur because of human errors such as:

  • not using the manufacturer’s load charge for the crane
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Linemen have one of the most dangerous job in the construction industryDerrick workers in oil gas and mining, roofers, ironworkers, crane operators, construction helpers, landscaping supervisors, highway maintenance workers, cement masons, ground maintenance workers, maintenance workers and mining machine operators have some of the highest death rates among all workers. Out of the top 25 most dangerous jobs  in the US, 12 of them are related to the construction industry according to a recent study released by AdvisorSmith.

Derrick operators in the oil gas and mining industry whose job is to operate and maintain the derrick and drill equipment used to extract oil or gas have the third most dangerous activity of all American workers behind logging workers and aircraft pilots and flight engineers. The average yearly salary of a derrick operator is $51,390 and the average fatal injury rate is 46 per 100,000 workers.  20 of them died on the job  in 2018 according to the most recent data of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Roofers who average a $42,100 yearly salary come right behind them with a fatal injury rate of 41 per 100,000 workers. 96 of them died in roofing accidents in 2018.

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construction NYCThankfully nobody was injured after a loose cable on a spinning crane hit a building under construction sending giant metal debris down the streets in Midtown Manhattan yesterday night around 7 PM and creating chaos.

The metal pieces fell from the 84th floor of  a high rise under construction at 111 West 57th Street. The spinning crane at the top of the building first  caused concerns that it could be loose or unstable but later on firefighters noticed that a cable hanging from the spinning boom was constantly hitting the building, destroying it and sending pieces of metal down the street near the intersection of 6th Avenue and 56th Street.

A crane crew was then sent up and the crane operator was able to get into the crane and secure the loose cable. The DOT issued a full stop work order for failure to safeguard public and property construction operations.

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Hard-Rock-Hotel-construction-accident-e1582228604154The crane accident that killed 4 people at a Google office project in Seattle and the collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel project that resulted in 3 deaths were among the most horrendous construction accidents that occur last year in the US.  While these major tragedies were all over the news, crane accidents and partial building collapses occurred all over the country last year.  A partial collapse of a building in Cinicinnati, a crane collapse in Dallas. Most big cities in the US  had similar tragedies including New York. Last August one man died and five were injured in a building collapse (see previous blog). A crane company was temporarily banned from the city after two consecutive crane accidents including one resulting in the death of a construction worker (see previous blog).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 175 people are injured in crane accidents and 44 die on average every year in the US

Most crane accidents are caused by human errors. Many of them such as the one that occurred at the Google site in Seattle or the one that killed a worker in New York occur during the  assembling or the disassembling of the crane.  The assembly/dissassembly director is in charge of making sure that the manufacturer guidelines and all safety procedures are followed during this dangerous operation. While OSHA introduced new regulations last April, these regulations are mostly related to improving crane operator’s knowledge and training.

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craneAfter two successive crane accidents in New York including one fatal, the company United Crane and Rigging was temporary barred from continuing work at 22 construction sites in the city. The NYC DOB will allow the company to restart work only after it replaces some of the employees involved in the recent accidents that occurred on July 30 in the East Village and in April in Soho. On July 30, the company had a crane working at a site located at 749 FDR Drive. The operator of the crane was lifting steel beans when the boom of the crane bent and partially collapsed. The operator then lost control of the load which struck the building before falling on the ground. Thankfully nobody was injured but investigators found that the load lifted by the crane weighted 4,400 pounds while the maximum lifting capacity was 3,700 pounds. Back in April,  34 year old Gregory Echevarria, a war hero who served several deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan died and two other construction workers were injured after a counterweight fell and crushed him during a crane installation by the same operator (see previous blog).

To be able to restart work on its 22 construction sites, United Crane and Rigging has to provide proof to the NYC Department of Buildings that the engineer of record, master rigger, lift director, assembly and disassembly and hoisting machine operators have all been replaced with new staff. Additionally the company also has to hire an independent monitor who will report to the DOB on United Crane and Rigging’s safety compliance.The negligent crane company was also hit with 5 DOB violations for:

  1. inadequate safety measures on site
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Gregory EchevarriaA NYC hard hat who was installing a crane died after the counter weight he was setting fell on him.

34 year old Gregory Echevarria was part of a crew installing a crane at a luxury residential development located at 570 Broome Street in Soho early Saturday morning. A little bit after 3:00 am the crane counterweight that Echevarria was installing slipped and fatally struck him. The crew immediately called 911. When the EMS crew arrived they found him unresponsive with severe injuries all over his body. He was declared dead at the scene of the accident. Two other workers were also injured in the accident.  People who were in the area at the time of the accident reported a very loud sound as the 7.5 ton counterweight fell.

After the accident the crane was moved and a stop work order was issued by the Department of Buildings. The 570 Broom project is being built by  Agime Group. KSK Construction Group is managing the construction project. The DOB previously received several safety complaints for the site.

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A 63 year old man injured his foot in a crane accident in New York.  The accident occurred around 10:20 pm on Monday night near Penn Station on 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan. As it was lifting material, the arm of the machine collapsed.

The truck mounted crane belonging to the Brooklyn company Lifting Solutions was lifting I-beams for Starr Construction when the hydraulic system failed and the boom crashed on the sidewalk. Pedestrians panicked and ran for cover.  Some of them thought it was an explosion. One person was sent to the emergency room after being injured by the debris.

A  hazardous material team was dispatched by the FDNY to clean up the spill of hydraulic fluid.

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Gotham residential construction siteLast June, two construction workers were seriously injured in a mini-crane accident in New York because of the negligence of their contractor, Western Waterproofing Co. Inc from St. Louis (see previous blog).

The accident occurred after two supervisors working for the contractor rented a mini-crane, installed it on the fourth floor of the construction site and instructed an untrained worker to lift heavy curtain wall panels with it. The load was too heavy and the crane tipped and fell four stories down. Two workers, Jorge Delgado and Christopher Jackson were seriously injured during the accident.

Last week, OSHA cited the Missouri contractor for exposing employees to serious injuries and proposed a $155,204 fine against the company.

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Gotham residential construction siteIn June 2018 two construction workers were seriously injured in a mini crane accident in New York because of the negligence of their supervisors. These supervisors were indicted last week for their reckless behavior. They face second degree assault and reckless endangerment.

The accident occurred on June 25th at a Harlem construction site located on East 126th Street near Lexington Avenue. Workers hired by Western Waterproofing were installing a facade for a building made of stainless steel and giant glass panels. To help them install the panels, 41 year old Timothy Braico, a senior branch manager, rented a mini crane that was installed on the fourth floor of the building. None of the workers in the team had proper training to use the crane and no one knew how to proprely set it up. After the crane was installed without an approved DOB engineering plan specifying crane use and tethering, the site supervisor, 39 year old Terrence Edwards, ordered an untrained iron-worker to operate the crane.  The crane maximum load was 880 pounds. As workers were hoisting a 1500-pound glass panel onto the facade of the building, the crane toppled and crashed to the ground.  39 year old Christopher Jackson, was ejected in the air and fell 3-story to the ground. He suffered traumatic brain injury that affected his capacity to talk and walk.  Another worker, 37 year old Jorge Delgado was struck in the back and suffered severe spinal injury that affected his mobility.

In New York, construction sites using mini cranes have to follow specific procedures in order to legally use them. A permit application that includes detailed plans as well as the proof that the contractor hired a certified operator and certified rigging crew must be submitted to the DOB in order to use a mini crane.

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OSHA logoTo better protect construction workers from dangerous crane accidents, OSHA recently released a final rule on crane operator certification requirements.  The new rule makes employers responsible for the training and evaluation of their crane operators. Employers are also responsible for documenting the successful completion of the evaluations. Crane operators need to be certified and licensed to work on a construction site and must receive ongoing training if they need to use new equipment.  While the previous 2010 rule on crane operators required operators to be certified on lifting capacity, the new rule indicates that operators can now be certified based on the crane’s type and capacity, or type only.

The final rule will become effective on December 9th 2018 however employers will have until February 7 2019 to comply with the evaluation and documentation requirements.

Read the OSHA press release