New York City officials tightened safety rules governing the safe operation of crawler cranes after a 565-foot crane fell and crashed onto a lower Manhattan Street Feb. 5, killing one person, injuring several others, and smashing several vehicles.
The changes, which took effect Feb. 8, are considered temporary but will remain in place until a more thorough analysis of the NYC crane collapse has been completed.
Currently, cranes in New York City may continue to operate until winds reach 30 mph or gusts increase to 40 mph. The new rules require that crawler cranes stop operating and go into safety mode when weather forecasts predict wind speeds of 20 mph or higher or gusts of 30 mph. Cranes must also be lowered and locked when actual readings reach those levels, regardless of weather predictions.
If the maximum winds are predicted for the next workday, the new rule requires that cranes be secured at the end of the previous workday.
Any operator found in violation of the rules will be fined $10,000, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced. The previous fine for non-compliance was $4,800.
A preliminary analysis of how these new rules would impact construction work found that the new standards, had they been in place last year, would have lowered cranes in the city on 40 days. In actuality, cranes went out of operation only 7 days in 2015 because of the weather.
Workers began lowering the crane that collapsed in TriBeCa earlier this month when winds reached 20 mph, in anticipation of winds speed growing to 25 mph as forecasts predicted. It is still unclear why the experienced crane operator lost control of the equipment, sending it crashing onto the length of Worth Street.
An additional precaution will have police officers and other uniformed personnel enforcing street closings related to crane use instead of construction crews. Nearby residents and business will also be notified whenever a crane is moved instead of only when it is first erected, as the old rules mandated.
“We all know there is a construction boom going on in our city,” Mayor de Blasio said. “Although we value the work that’s being done, we value what it means for our economy, we value the jobs that are being created — nothing is more important than the safety of our people.”
Source: New York Times