Lack of Rigging Inspections Cited in New York Crane Death

October 8, 2012

Yonkers Contracting Co. Inc. has been cited for 10 alleged serious violations of workplace safety in connection with the April 3 death of a worker on the No. 7 subway extension project in Manhattan. The worker, an employee of subcontractor J&E Industries of Belle Harbor, was fatally struck by a crane boom at the 524 W. 33rd St. work site after the wire rope used to raise and lower the boom broke, causing it to fall.

“Fundamental, vital and required safety practices were not followed in this case, resulting in the most extreme consequence: the loss of a worker’s life,” said Kay Gee, OSHA’s area director in Manhattan. “Had the proper procedures been followed, this incident and this worker’s death could have been prevented.”

OSHA’s inspection found that Yonkers Contracting had not conducted required inspections of wire ropes used to hoist materials, including the boom hoist that collapsed and killed the worker. Inspections by the employer are required before each work shift and on a monthly and annual basis to identify and correct any defects in the ropes. A total of 10 serious violations were cited, which also include allowing a worker inside the crane’s fall zone, not ensuring that a rigger (that is, a worker who rigs cranes to lift loads) is properly trained, fall hazards stemming from an unguarded/open-sided work area, impalement hazards from unguarded rebar and failing to conduct required annual functional testing of the hoist.

Additionally, J&E Industries was issued one serious citation involving a lack of training for a rigger. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

“One method of enhancing workers’ safety and to prevent on-the-job deaths is developing and maintaining an effective illness and injury prevention program in which management and employees work together to proactively identify and prevent hazardous conditions,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York.

Yonkers Contacting faces $68,000 in proposed fines, and J&E Industries faces a $7,000 proposed fine.