If you follow the New York City construction industry, you must have noticed that there have been a lot of crane accidents among the reported construction accidents. The latest occurred in early January, when a crane collapsed on the Queens waterfront. Three workers were pinned beneath the heavy structure and four others were also injured.
The site is at 46th Ave. and Center Boulevard in Long Island City. The injured workers were building the last of seven buildings at the luxury development Queens West.
Amazingly, there were no life-threatening injuries, according to Deputy Fire Chief Mark Ferran. That was small comfort to both the injured workers and those who avoid injury, seemingly by inches. “I was this close to death,” said Preston White, a carpenter. “Everybody was scrambling.”
According to witnesses, the cables snapped and the 350-foot crane buckled before falling to the ground. The collapse occurred right behind the iconic Pepsi sign on the banks of the East River.
A witness said that workers were loading wood planks onto the crane at the time of the accident.
The crane’s owner is New York Crane. James Lomma, who owns the company, was acquitted of criminally negligent homicide after a 2008 crane collapse on the upper East Side killed two workers. New York Crane is one of the largest crane operators in the city.
The crane that collapsed passed inspection and was approved in October 2012. It was built in 1992. A similar crane collapsed last April, killing two workers at the MTA’s extension work site.
According to records at the Buildings Department, the Queens West job site generated very few safety complaints or reports of serious construction accidents before the crane collapse last week.
Source: New York Daily News, “Seven construction workers hurt after crane collapses onto Long Island City, Queens work site,” Jan. 9, 2013.