From Cranes to Window Washers to Trenches, Construction Accidents Roil New York City

It seems that troubling news regarding the construction industry and construction accidents in New York City are heard on a daily basis. 15 people in construction-related accidents have been killed in the city so far this year, compared with 12 in all of 2007. After the second of two recent crane collapses within 12 weeks of each other during which period the city held its 4th annual Construction Safety Week, a window into the world of New York City Buildings Department crane inspections and inspectors has been opened. Nine people, all but one of them construction workers, died in … Read the rest

Toughen the Federal Worker-Safety Law: Make It a Crime

Although it is certainly too early to cast blame, if any, for this past Friday’s fatal crane collapse on the East Side, with the Manhattan district attorneys office having opened a criminal investigation into the collapse, the death and injuries sustained in the accident is perhaps just the latest example of why the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the primary federal worker-safety law in the United States, is in need of more powerful enforcement penalties. So cogently argues David M. Uhlmann, a law professor at the University of Michigan, in a recent New York Times op-ed article.

About 6,000 workers … Read the rest

The Crane Brethren

Yesterday our office received a call from a client involved in the March 15, 2008, collapse of a crane at a construction project on East 51st Street in Manhattan. The news that another crane collapsed when the top of the crane on an East 91st Street construction site had snapped off, crashed into a building across the street and killed two construction workers had hit our client personally; he had received a telephone call from a crane operator that he knew from his work that identified the crane operator who died in the latest collapse as a friend of our … Read the rest

Construction Accidents: What’s Up With the Cranes?

Apparently it’s not sufficient that an inspector makes a phantom inspection of a Manhattan construction site crane that subsequently collapses, killing 7 people, injuring another 24 people, destroying a building, and causing untold other horrors.

An investigation by New York State’s inspector general has found that a Crane Operator Examining Board examiner issued more than 200 improper certificates to operators even though they had failed their practical exams. Examiner Frank Fazzio even improperly issued himself a crane certificate. He has been removed from the Crane Board.

The investigation was prompted by an allegation that certificates were being unfairly denied … Read the rest

Jane Jarvis, Former Mets Organist, Displaced by NYC Crane Accident; She Had Seen Crane Swaying in the Wind (and other Mets nostalgia)

The 146-ton crane that collapsed in New York City this past March 15, forced 300 apartments to be evacuated. One of the people displaced by the collapse is Jane Jarvis, who played the organ for the New York Mets at Shea Stadium from 1964 through 1979.

Weeks before the crane toppled, Ms. Jarvis, who is now 92 years of age, said that she saw it swaying in a windstorm, and we were praying to God that it wouldn’t fall. Ms. Jarvis is remembered at Shea for playing an alternate theme song, “Let’s Go Mets”, as the team took … Read the rest

More Details Emerge About Crane Accident at Construction Site

With the recovery of three more bodies, seven people – six construction workers and a woman visiting for St. Patrick’s Day – were killed in Saturday’s crane collapse on East 51stStreet in Manhattan. A preliminary city investigation found that the crane toppled after a steel collar used to tie it to the side of the building fell as workers attempted to install it.

Officials are investigating whether a series of hoists and nylon straps used to hold the collar temporarily in place were strong enough to sustain its 12,000 pound weight, particularly since a ripped nylon strap was … Read the rest

Construction Safety at Issue: Crane Accident Yesterday Kills 4 and Injures over 12; Deutsche Bank Tower Contractors Fined $464K and Issued 44 Citations for Fatal Fire

Just weeks after federal safety regulators proposed fining two contractors hired to demolish the condemned ground zero skyscraper Deutsche Bank tower $464,500 and accused them of a total of 44 safety hazards at the building in connection with a fire at the building on August 18, 2007, in which two firefighters died , yesterday at about 2:20 P.M., in what the authorities called one of the city’s worst accidents, a crane towering over a high-rise construction site collapsed killing 4 people with more than a dozen others sustaining personal injuries.

The crane had been attached at various points to the … Read the rest

National Transportation Safety Board Finds that Faulty Design Led to Minnesota Bridge Collapse; Dozens of Claims Filed

The National Transportation Safety Board said earlier this month that undersized gusset plates in the Interstate 35-W bridge in Minneapolis were “the critical factor” in the bridge collapse of August 1, 2007, that killed 13 people and injured 100. Chairman Mark Rosenker said the plates, which connected steel beams, were roughly half (1/2 inch rather and 1 inch) the thickness they should have been because of a design error. Investigators found 16 fractured gusset plates from the bridge’s center span, he said.

The NTSB’s final report is expected this fall. This past Sunday marked the 180 day deadline for filing … Read the rest

Construction Workers Fatal 42 Story Fall Latest Problem for Bovis Lend Lease

A construction worker who was pouring concrete at Trump SoHo, a condominium hotel in SoHo, fell 42 floors to his death on the afternoon of January 14, 2008, when a wooden mold used to set the concrete collapsed.

Another worker was thrown from the 42nd floor, but was caught in a safety net that extends outward from the 40th floor, fire officials said. He was brought to safety in a construction bucket and hospitalized for injuries that the authorities said were not life threatening. Two other workers were treated for minor injuries.

The cause of the collapse was unclear. Officials … Read the rest