Crane work halted at 20-plus sites after company’s second crane-related accident

United Crane and Rigging must replace certain personnel
By Kathryn Brenzel | August 12, 2019 05:00PM

The crane company was involved in at least two accidents this year (Credit: iStock)

The crane company was involved in at least two accidents this year (Credit: iStock)

The city has halted crane work at more than 20 construction sites until a Long Island City-based company replaces personnel involved in two accidents, one of which led to a fatality.

The Department of Buildings barred United Crane and Rigging from continuing work at 22 sites, following a fatal crane collapse in April and another incident two weeks ago. United can only resume work once it replaces the personnel who supervised crane work on July 30 at a New York City Housing Authority apartment complex in the East Village.

 749 FDR Drive (Credit: Google Maps)

749 FDR Drive (Credit: Google Maps)

According to the DOB, the crane’s operator at 749 FDR Drive lifted steel beams weighing more than 4,400 pounds, although the machinery’s maximum lifting capacity was 3,700 pounds. The excessive weight caused the crane’s boom to bend and partially collapse, according to the agency. The operator then lost control of the load, causing it to strike the side of the building before falling to the ground, the agency said.

United was also involved in a fatal accident on April 13 at 570 Broome Street, a 54-unit residential condominium being developed by Murat Agirnasli and Partners. In that incident, a crane rigger was crushed to death by a crane counterweight, and another worker was injured. The accident — which remains under investigation — marked the third construction-related death in the city that week and helped renew calls for construction safety reform. The names of the United employees who must be replaced were not immediately available.

When reached by phone Monday, a United representative declined to comment.

In a letter to United, DOB indicates that the company must provide documentation that it’s replaced its engineer of record, master rigger, lift director, assembly and disassembly and hoisting machine operators. To resume work, United must also hire an independent monitor who will provide DOB with monthly safety-compliance reports. The agency also filed five violations against United, including failure to designate a qualified and competent lift director, failure to make proper notifications to DOB, inadequate safety measures on site, failure to safeguard the construction site and failure to have proper construction documents on site. The violations carry penalties totaling $110,000.

Other United sites include Tishman Speyer’s 28-07 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, an office tower known as the JACX; Aurora Capital Associates and William Gottlieb Real Estate’s office tower at 40 10th Avenue in the Meatpacking District, and Cammeby’s International’s planned apartment tower at 432 Neptune Avenue in Coney Island.