For people living in and around New York City, news of dangerous construction accidents has become unsettling commonplace. A seeming rise in the number of crane accidents, in particular, has been noted in recent years. Last month, another crane accident took place, this time on the East River waterfront in Queens, behind the landmark Pepsi sign.
The crane accident occurred in the afternoon on January 9, 2013, when workers reported hearing cables break. The crane – which rose 380 feet in the air – then collapsed and fell onto the construction work being done below. Three workers were reportedly trapped underneath the crane, while another four sustained personal injuries in the accident. All seven injured workers were transported to area hospitals.
The crane was set up four days before the accident and is owned by New York Crane. Many will remember the owner of New York Crane has previously been the source of alleged crane safety issues. In 2008, a crane – owned by New York Crane – collapsed at a construction site on the upper East Side, resulting in two fatalities. The owner was subsequently charged and acquitted of criminally negligent homicide.
Since the incident in January, both the crane operator and contractor have been cited for violations. The crane operator reportedly was lifting twice the allowable weight and was unable to see what he was lifting. In addition, the buildings commissioner stated that the operator’s supervisors had failed to ensure they were adhering to the approved plans. Both the crane operator and the contractor – Cross Country Construction LLC – face fines of $64,000 at a minimum.
In addition, the developer and site safety manager received citations for “failing to safeguard people and property during construction,” and face fines of $2,400 at minimum.
Crane accidents have been a serious cause for concern in New York since two accidents occurred during a two-month period in 2008. The construction accidents, both of which took place in Manhattan, led to nine fatalities and resulted in an increased focus on crane safety.
The Buildings Department has implemented a number of new safety standards to protect workers on the job. For instance, workers must now attend new training sessions before they are allowed to put together, climb or dismantle a crane. In addition, crane inspectors are now being held to higher standards and are receiving additional training.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a crane accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the harm caused. Consulting with a skilled, New York personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are protected.