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Stated Meeting: Crane Safety Beefed Up

by Courtney Gross, Sep 08, 2008
 

In the wake of another construction fatality last week, the City Council passed three bills Thursday aimed at increasing safety at building sites with cranes, including increasing coordination between operators and engineers and limiting the use of nylon straps.

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The council also approved legislation prohibiting individuals from climbing or basejumping off of buildings.

Crane Safety

At approximately 9:30 a.m. Thursday, a 48-year-old construction worker plummeted 40 stories to his death. He fell from the platform of a crane, where his harness was not properly secured.

That afternoon, the council unanimously approved three bills – part of a package of proposals introduced following two fatal crane accidents earlier this year. Most of the other measures have already been passed.

Thursday's accident was the third in six months. City officials suspended the license for the site's master rigger after an investigation found he had not supervised the crane operation.

The bills come as the city buildings department continues to be under intense scrutiny. Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the legilsation is not meant to restrict development but to enhance safety.

"Yes, we want development to happen in New York," said Quinn. "But we're not going to compromise safety."

The first bill (Intro 796 ) requires an engineer or rigger draft a plan for the crane's operation and submit it to the city's Department of Buildings. It also requires pre-jump safety meetings, which the department must be notified of at least 48 hours beforehand.

Another bill (Intro 794) requires crane operators take a 30-hour training course at least every five years. The final bill ( Intro 795) will restrict the use of nylon strings to hold cranes in place. A crane accident in March, which killed seven people, could have been caused by the failure of nylon straps.

Scaling Structures

In early June, two men in one day – one a skilled climber, another reportedly raising awareness for malaria – scaled the New York Times building.

The incident caught the attention of one member of the City Council, who introduced legislation (Intro 721) that would make it easier to prosecute people who try similar stunts. Councilmember Peter Vallone said that previously prosecutors had to prove the climber recklessly endangered the public. Now, he said, just climbing, jumping or suspending oneself from any structure will be illegal.

“Clearly, we don’t want our city to continue to be Disneyland for daredevils,” said Vallone.

Anyone found guilty could face one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The bill was approved by a vote of 48 to 1, with Councilmember Helen Sears voting no.

Aging Abuse

Legislation to boost training on elder abuse for nonprofits that contract with the Department for the Aging was unanimously approved by the City Council.

The bill (Intro 737 ) requires the department develop training programs on detecting and eliminating elder abuse. The service groups will have to be trained every three years and hold at least two educational sessions annually.  

More about:
crane, city, safety




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