Crane accidents are always big news, especially when they occur in a crowded urban environment, such as our city. Our city experienced two significant crane collapses in 2019 that were deemed to be the fault of United Crane & Rigging Company, a firm located in Long Island. After an investigation that began with a collapse that occurred on July 30, the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) has assessed the firm a significant fine and has halted all of its work in the city.
In its investigation of the collapse that occurred on July 30 at 749 F.D.R. Drive, the DOB found that the crane operator attempted to lift a load of steel beams weighing 4,400 pounds. That weight exceeded the crane’s rated lifting capacity of 3,700 pounds. The excessive load caused the crane’s boom to bend and partially collapse. The operator lost control of the load, which fell from the crane onto the building’s roof and sides.
No one was injured in the accident, but the building was evacuated. DOB fined United $110,000 for that accident. The DOB’s citation identified several specific safety violations: failure to designate a qualified lift director, failure to make proper notification to DOB about the work being performed, inadequate safety measures on the site, failure to safeguard the site to protect workers and the public and failure to have proper construction documents on the site.
United Crane was also found responsible for a crane accident on April 13. The counterweight of a crane that was assembled under United’s supervision fell to the ground and killed a worker. That accident remains under investigation.
The DOB has stopped United’s work on 22 construction sites in the City. United will not be allowed to reopen its work at these sites until it has installed an independent safety monitor to provide monthly reports to DOB about United’s safety compliance.