Workers on a jobsite at 81-10 134th Steet in Briarwood, New York, were hoisting a 30-foot I beam while working at a six-story tall structure Tuesday when the beam became unstable and bumped into a building, causing it to swing out of control. Around 12:10 p.m. the crane cable snapped, the beam fell, and smashed into the crane operator's cab. The beam then fell on to a ground worker who was holding the tether line. Both workers were killed.
The accident is under investigation and while it is too early to tell if Tuesday's 20-to-30 mile per hour winds contributed to the men's deaths, Pete Corrigan, of the New York District Council of Carpenters, told the New York Daily News that 90 percent of the workers in his labor organization weren’t out on jobs Tuesday because of the winds. New York City's Department of Buildings had issued a wind advisory, warning of 40-mile per hour gusts for Monday. Tuesday's winds were recorded at sustained speeds of 26 mph at JFK Airport, five miles from the construction site. Gusts up to 40 mph were recorded nearby.
New safety rules for crawler cranes require all operations must stop when steady winds are forecasted to exceed 20 mph or gusts to exceed 30 mph.
Cranes Express owns the crane and was cited by OSHA in August 2015 after an incident at a job site in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. The firm, listed by OSHA as non-union, agreed to pay a $3,500 penalty for the 2015 incident.