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NYC Finds Operator at Fault for Deadly Crane Accident

An investigation by New York City’s Buildings Department concluded that a crane operator was at fault for a large crane that collapsed in lower Manhattan on a gusty morning in February of this year, killing one person and injuring three others. The city has suspended the operator’s license and have also moved to permanently revoke it, citing that the operator acted recklessly. This situation is a perfect illustration of why it is so important to seek legal guidance when workers are involved in workplace accidents either as injury victims or accidental contributors.

City officials stated that the operator did not properly secure the crane the night before. He then improperly lowered the boom, which caused it to become unstable. The city found no structural or mechanical issues or failures with the crane.  After this incident, the city implemented tougher rules for operating cranes in high winds.

Another crane accident occurred in Queens on a windy day in November. A steel beam, weighing 6,500 pounds, fell from a crane, which killed a crane operator as it struck the crane’s cab, and a construction worker below on the ground who was guiding the beam. The city found that there were issues with the crane’s rigging which were not related to the wind.

Revising proper crane operations has been one of OSHA's tasks for a few years. OSHA has been working on creating certification and qualification requirements for crane operators and recently met with industry representatives regarding updating the 2010 crane rule. Currently, employers of crane operators must ensure that their crane operators are certified by November 10, 2017.

Policies, rules, and regulations that OSHA, along with state and local governments, makes are of utmost importance when it comes to construction site safety. Certifying crane operators will not only protect workers and the general public, but also will keep construction companies accountable for their employees and their equipment.

When victims and their families are faced with the painful consequences of a construction site accident due to a crane, hoist, or derrick, seeking expert legal counsel can help create some clarity out of a potentially tragic situation. 

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