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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New York Crane AccidentA knuckle boom crane fell on a construction worker and killed him yesterday afternoon on a construction site located at 219 E. 44th Street near Second Avenue, New York City. The crane was fitted on a truck parked in front of the building and was used to unload material that was being delivered to the construction site. 40 year old Trevor Loftus , was standing on top of the flatbed truck holding his phone when the articulated arm fell on him and killed him. Loftus served as the crane safety coordinator for Kenry Contracting of Yonkers which is his own company. According to the Buildings Department, construction material was being lifted off the truck when a mechanical failure caused the arm to collapse and killed the construction worker.
Read more in the NY Daily News 
Picture: Buck Ennis

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After two fatal crane accidents killed several people in Manhattan in 2008, 65 safety fixes were identified by consultants but only 8 (12%) of them were implemented, 17 (26%) were partially implemented, 18 (28%) were in progress and 22 (34%) had not been implemented according to a recent audit by New York City Controller Scott Stringer.

In 2008 the Building Department paid CTL Engineers & Construction Technology Consultants $3.9 million to prepare proposals on how to improve safety at New York construction sites and avoid catastrophic crane accidents such as the collapse of a 300-foot crane that killed 7 people on East 51st Street in Manhattan or the collapse of another crane that killed two construction workers 2 months later. The consultants provided a list of 65 recommendations and were paid another $1.9 million to assist the DOB with the implementation of these recommendations. They were supposed to have 49 of the 65 changes implemented in the next two years but they fell far short of that according to Stringer’s investigation.

The audit identified serious weakness in the New York Cit Department Building Oversight that costed tax payers million of dollars.

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AzureNYCcraneaccident.jpgThe long legal battle that ensued after two construction workers died in a crane collapse on 91st Street and First Avenue in Manhattan in 2008 just took another unexpected turn last week.

After the owner of New York Crane and Equipment Corporation, Jame Lomma, was cleared of all charges in a criminal prosecution in 2012 a judge just declared a mistrial in the civil lawsuit against the construction magnate because he was hurt in a bad car accident and was still in the hospital.

The families of the victims, Donald C. Leo, the crane operator and Ramadan Kurtan, a sewer worker, who were suing James Lomma for wrongful death, will have to wait at least until September to pursue their fight for justice.

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Construction Accident Injuries are often catastrophic and the pain and suffering endured by the victims will last until the end of their life. In her recent blog for the Huffington Post “Astoria Characters; The Forgotten Hero”, Nancy Ruhling meets with Nick Pavlou, the construction worker who became known as the Hard-Hat Hero in October 1996 after he risked his life to save a woman’s and her son and granddaughter from a crane accident. His partner Paul Foti who was the crane operator died in the accident. Nick was crushed by the 6-ton boom and doctors thought he would never survive and if he would he could never be able to walk again. After 60 surgeries, Nick is alive and on good days he can walk for four blocks.But Nick’s life will never be the same again and the pain and suffering is present everyday..

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Vordonia Contracting and Supplies Corp./Alma Realty Corp. of Long Island City, MSI of Brooklyn, and North Eastern Precast of Fultonville allowed employees to work dangerously close to high-voltage power lines despite multiple cease and desist notices from the Long Island Power Authority.

Contractors were working on a residential and retail project at the corner of Sunrise Highway and Rockaway Avenue in Valley Stream, Long Island, New York. According to OSHA inspectors, in some areas of the construction site, power lines were just 4 inches above the head of the workers and they have been fortunate not to have been electrocuted.

The 3 contractors were issued willful citations for allowing employees and crane operations in close proximity to the power lines and serious citations for failing to mark the power lines with warning signs. Additional violations were issued for failing to train workers on electrocution hazards, not checking to see whether the lines were energized and unsafe crane operating procedures.

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one57%20crane-thumb.jpgDuring Hurricane Sandy, a tower crane at One57 construction site snapped backward during the 80-mile-per-hour winds and the 150-foot boom stayed tied to the mast, dangling dangerously nearly 1,000 feet high in the air over midtown Manhattan. The team of inspectors and engineers that responded to this crane accident and helped secure the collapsed boom recently received the Advancing Public Safety Award at the 2013 Commissioner’s Awards for Excellence, the New York City Department of Buildings annual ceremony held at Cooper Union in Manhattan.

After the collapse, Assistant New York City Department of Buildings Commissioner Michael Alacha, P.E., and Acting Assistant Commissioner Timothy Lynch, P.E., climbed to the top of 74-story unenclosed building to inspect the boom. In the following days multiple inspections of the crane, the hoist and the surrounding buildings were conducted and the two men as well as Executive Director of Cranes and Derricks Division Faisal Muhammed, P.E., Chief Inspector Frank Damiani and other engineers worked with the contractor and developer to devise a plan to secure the equipment. The entire operation lasted 5 days including 36 hours to slowly turn the crane mast sideways so the boom could then be secured.

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digger%20derrick.jpgOSHA recently issued a final rule to expand the exemption for digger derricks in its construction standard for cranes and derricks used in the electric-utility industry to telecommunications work. Digger derricks drill holes for utility poles. They are used by telecommunication companies to place poles inside holes and attach transformers and other items to the poles. The rule is effective June 28, 2013.

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In a previous blog we mentioned that OSHA decided to apply cranes and derricks safety standard requirements to demolition and underground construction sites. The deadline for crane operators to get their certification was November 14th 2014 but OSHA just announced that it has was planning to extend it to November 10 2017 so that the certification requirements do not take effect during potential rulemaking or cause disruption to the construction industry.

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Thankfully there was no injury following the crane accident near the Eat River at the Water Club restaurant. The 20 ton crane, a Grove RT540E owned by Phoenix Marine was doing work on a bulkhead on the south end of the restaurant when workers said it became snagged on a barge support beam and fell over.

The picture shows that at the time of the accident the crane seemed to be proprely set up and its boom was fully extended. Therefore at Gair Gair Conason Steigman Mackauf Bloom and Rubinowitz we think that the load being lifted was too heavy (overloaded) causing the crane to tip.

The New York City Department of Buildings is investigating.

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In order to prevent and reduce hoisting equipment related accidents in demolition sites and underground construction sites, OSHA is extending the application of the requirements of the August 2010 cranes and derricks in construction standard to all construction sectors.

Starting May 13 2013, the separate standard applying to demolition and underground construction will no longer exist and employers will have to comply with streamlined OSHA standards. As a consequence, the existing operator-certification requirement will be extended to crane operators who perform underground construction work or demolition work. These crane operators have until November 14th 2014 to take their test and get certified.

OSHA says that the August 2010 crane and derricks rules saves an average of 22 lives per year and prevent 175 non fatal injuries per year and that it should also benefit demolition sites and underground construction workers.