The Real Deal New York

Negligence from owners and operators led to recent crane collapses

January 21, 2013 09:00AM

A collapsed crane at a TF Cornerstone site in Long Island City (Image courtesy Larry Dusseau)

Owners have been lax in maintaining cranes and operators have been careless, an analysis of city records by the New York Daily News shows. This negligence has been the cause of several recent accidents, including the collapse of a crane earlier this month at the site of TF Cornerstone’s luxury rental development in Long Island City, which injured seven workers.

The Daily News found multiple examples since 2010, some of which led to gruesome injuries: A worker lost fingers due to improper supervision; a contractor’s leg was crushed when a crane knocked concrete onto him; a crane in the Bronx dropped an industrial chiller on a worker below, killing him.

Due to the potential of cranes to cause immense damage, their proper upkeep and usage is crucial. “If the operator does something that causes a failure, that could impact public safety,” said Frank Damiani, a city Buildings Department crane supervisor, during a 2010 hearing.

But the number of crane inspectors in the city has dropped from 10 to four, putting further strain on the ones working, sources told the Daily News. Tony Sclafani, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Buildings, told the newspaper that the city has added “25 new laws and formed new specialized units to increase oversight and safety on job sites throughout the city since two cranes collapsed in 2008.” One of the 2008 incidents involved a crane at the Azure condominium that was owned by James Lomma, whose company was involved in the TF Cornerstone incident earlier this month. [NYDN] —Hiten Samtani

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