Are New York City construction sites and equipment adequately inspected, or is there a flaw in the system? This is a question being asked after the third fatal construction accident involving a crane collapse in four years occurred on Manhattan’s far west side on April 3, killing a construction worker. The crane rig was exempt from many city construction safety rules because the project was being conducted by an independent New York State agency, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). The MTA was constructing an extension of the No. 7 subway line.
On Wednesday, the day after the accident, NYC Council speaker Christine Quinn noted that if the project had been under the control of the city, it would have been in violation of several city safety regulations. She told reporters that first responders had noticed several city code violations such as unguarded ledges that could have resulted in fines, had they been under the city’s oversight. The MTA, however, says that the project was already under the jurisdiction of the city, because the work was being performed on city-owned property.
An independent construction safety expert stated that the most likely cause of the collapsed boom was a snapped hoisting cable. However, he cautioned that it was impossible to suggest a cause without examining the site and equipment. The crane, built by the Manitowoc Company, was more than two decades old. It is smaller than those used on sky-scraper projects, but is ideal for lifting weights of 200 to 230 tons.
Source: Washington Post, “NYC crane that collapsed, killing worker, was due for follow-up inspection,” Apr. 3, 2012.