Sadly, construction crane accidents in New York have been much too common, and dozens of people have paid for them with their lives and in serious injuries. Construction cranes are an important tool for building and maintaining high-rises and other structures throughout New York. There are numerous regulations in place meant to keep New Yorkers safe and ensure these cranes are used properly, but that has not prevented accidents from happening. Worse yet, many regulations that should be in place have gone unimplemented.
There are estimated to be 200-300 large construction cranes in use in New York at any given time. Fortunately, accidents with these cranes are not an everyday occurrence, but considering how much damage and injury they can cause, they still happen all too often. In March of 2008, a crane at a high-rise construction site collapsed, which resulted in the deaths of seven people and dozens more injured. While manslaughter charges were filed, no one was found guilty of wrongdoing. In May of the same year, another crane accident killed two workers and injured a third. Following these two accidents, the Department of Buildings (DOB) in New York hired consultants to investigate regulations and suggest additional ways to improve safety.
The consultation resulted in the High Risk Construction Oversight (HRCO) study that made numerous suggestions for improving construction safety, including 24 specifically related to cranes. These suggestions included things like third-party inspection, counter weights, maintenance and repair regulations, and load testing. The DOB, following the study, was supposed to implement 21 of the recommendations within a two-year period from when it was issued in 2008; the other three suggestions were marked for further study.
As of an audit by the office of the New York City comptroller in 2014, six years after the HRCO study, and four years after those 21 regulations should have been implemented, only three of them had actually been implemented. Six of them had been partially implemented, eight were in progress of being implemented, and six of them had not been implemented in any way whatsoever. The entire process wasted city money, failed to produce meaningful results, and left construction crane safety without the oversight it deserves. In February of 2016, another crane accident resulted in the death of one person and three additional people injured.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a New York construction crane accident, do not suffer in silence. The lawyers of Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP have experience in personal injury and serious accidents; we want to help. Call us today at (212) 986-7353 to discuss your case and go over your options.