Crawler Cranes Emergency Policies May Be Reversed

Following a February 5, 2016 crane accident that killed a passerby when the crane working on a rooftop toppled over onto the street below, the city put an emergency ban in place which disallowed the use of crawler cranes if the wind speeds reached 20 miles-per-hour or above. Previously, the limit was 30 miles-per-hour, or what the manufacturer’s guidelines stated if it was lower. A working group has proposed the emergency ban be lifted, thereby reinstating the old limits, until the Technical Working Group completes its review of the crane accident in the next three months.

Crawler cranes, like the one that was involved in the recent accident, can be driven around on tank-like treads. The head of U.S. Crane & Rigging, Tom Auringer, stated that the type of crawler crane involved in the February accident is strongly susceptible to operator error if used in the manner in which it was when it collapsed. Mr. Auringer further explained that crawler cranes can be used at differing wind speeds depending on the manner of usage, including winds of 20 to 30 miles-per-hour. Additionally, he told officials that in multiple accidents since 1999, the cranes were improperly used, and the cause of the accidents was operator error.

If the proposal is adopted by the city, the wind speed limits will revert to the old standards of 30 miles-per-hour, allowing construction practices to proceed as they used to before the ban. Additionally, the working group suggested that an operator be present when crawler cranes not designed to operate in at least 30 miles-per-hour winds are used to ensure better safety, and also when the crane is in storage mode. The group also recommended that cranes unable to properly function in 20 miles-per-hour winds be prohibited in public areas.

Construction accidents are frequently preventable with proper safety precautions. If you have been injured, or a loved one has been killed in a construction accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an attorney who is experienced in representing clients who have suffered injuries due to construction site related injuries. Call Arze & Mollica, LLP at (718) 996-5600 for a consultation today.

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