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Could Crane Rules have Prevented Miami Crane Collapses?

Miami-Dade County tried to pass regulations requiring cranes to withstand 140mph winds but lost

September 11, 2017
Irma left Miami cranes battered and dangling over condos and highrises

Irma's gone, but she left Miami's cranes battered and dangling over condos and highrises in her wake. The first crane snapped at the Vice apartment building at 300 Biscayne Blvd., on Sunday morning, where the crane's counter weight had fallen off and into the building.

Shortly after, wind gusts damaged a crane boom at 600 NE 30th Terrace. Around 5p.m. another crane collapsed at Auberge Beach Residences and Spa at 2200 N. Ocean Blvd.

The Miami-Herald reports that 10 years ago Miami-Dade County tried to put in place an ordinance which would require all cranes to be able to withstand 140 mph winds. The ordinance passed in 2008 but legal challenges from construction and crane groups resulted in the ordinance being taken off the books.

“The crane industry opposed it,” said Audrey Edmonson, the Miami-Dade County commissioner sponsored the rule.

According to the Miami-Herald report, South Florida's chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America and the Florida Crane Owners Council argued regulating cranes only involves the safety of construction workers, so federal workplace rules take precedence.

Miami-Dade insisted construction cranes posed public-safety risks and should be controlled by local rules. “Falling cranes kill people,” the county said in its suit. “Workers and non-workers alike.”

However, a federal appeals court dismissed the county's public safety concerns in 2010.

Read the complete Miami-Herald story here.

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