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Articles Posted in Crane Accidents

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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

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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.

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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:

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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

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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



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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.

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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


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crane collapse picA man died and four other people were injured in a crane collapse in New York around 8:30 this morning. The accident took place on Worth Street near Church Street. The accident occurred when a  massive construction  crane whose boom extended 565 feet high collapsed on a row of park cars.  The accident was caught on video by Glenn Zito, a construction worker  who was on the upper floors in a building across the street. Glenn and two of his colleagues had just been ordered to stop to work on the upper floors because the wind was too strong. He was on his way down when he capture the below video.

According to FDNY, 38 year old David Wichs had just exited from his car when the crane crashed on him and killed him. Mr. Wichs was an outstanding young man who immigrated from Czechoslovakia as a teenager, graduated from Harvard and worked in the financial industry. He lived with his wife in Manhattan on the upper west side. He was said by friends to be an extremely decent man.   Still in the car was 73 year old Thomas O’Brien who suffered head laceration but survived.  Another victim, 45 year old Dawn Kojima suffered leg injury and another person suffered minor injury after being hit by debris.

This morning the wind was blowing at more than 20 mph and it was snowing. The crew had suspended work and a decision was made to lower the crane to a more secure level. The accident happened as construction workers were lowering the crane’s boom in order to move it into a safe and secure position .

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Two construction workers as well as several pedestrians and car passengers suffered personal injury in a crane accident in New York yesterday morning. The crane was hauling an air conditioning unit of the size of a shipping container to the top floor of a 30-story building at 261 Madison Avenue, N.Y.C. when a rigging strap broke. The unit first crashed into the side of the building before landing on Madison Avenue between 38th and 39th streets. 10 people were injured by the falling debris. The crane operating company, Skylift, had a similar accident in 2010 during which no one was injured and received two serious OSHA violations.

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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