UPDATE: NYC Crane Accident Recommendations

July 7, 2016

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler have announced publication of a report by the city’s Technical Working Group with 23 crane safety recommendations. The Crane Safety Technical Working Group was formed by de Blasio after February’s crane collapse in Tribeca.

The Technical Working Group’s independent review provides guidance on national and international best practices and recent technological advances that can be implemented to ensure that New York City continues to have the most robust crane regulations in the nation. The Working Group consulted with stakeholders across the construction industry and workforce as it crafted its recommendations.

Following February’s crane collapse, DOB said any crane configuration must cease operation in winds of 20 miles per hour or less, such as the one that collapsed in Tribeca.
"The Working Group heard from all stakeholders and recommended a thoughtful set of commonsense crane-safety measures. I expect that DOB will take a close look at this report, take action on provisions the agency can implement on its own, and work with the Council on items that require legislation,” said Mayor de Blasio.
The members of the technical working group are Mary C. Boyce, Dean of Engineering at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University; Katepalli R. Sreenivasan, President of NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering and Dean of Engineering at New York University; Peter J. Madonia, Chief Operating Officer of the Rockefeller Foundation; Bill Goldstein, who most recently served as Senior Advisor to the Mayor for Recovery, Resiliency, and Infrastructure; and Wayne A. Crew, General Secretary of the National Academy of Construction.

Key Recommendations from the Crane Safety Technical Working Group:

  • Require the latest technology and phase out older cranes. Cranes operating in the City of New York should be equipped with anemometers (devices that measure wind speeds), data-logging devices (“black boxes”), and GPS trackers to allow cranes to be more closely monitored. There should be an age limit on cranes operating in the City.
  • Increase industry accountability for crane operation. DOB should require contractors to have an on-site lift director who will be responsible for verifying compliance with city regulations and monitoring site-specific wind conditions during work – and ceasing operations, if necessary. In particular, the Working Group recommends that the lift director convene pre-shift meetings and inspections, as well as post-shift checks, similar to the sign-off process that occurs before passenger airplanes take off and after they land.
  • Set site-specific wind requirements at 30 mph. DOB should maintain its current rule restricting crane operation when winds exceed 30mph, but this restriction should be based on the on-site measurement of wind speeds, rather than through Citywide notices to cease crane operations. Crane configurations that must cease operation when winds are between 20 and 30 miles per hour should only be allowed in non-public areas, or if a safety plan is approved by the City. DOB should maintain its policy barring crane configurations with an out-of-service wind threshold at or below 20mph, unless the crane is located in a non-public area.
  • DOB should explore more flexible staffing arrangements to deal with surges in crane application volumes. The Working Group recommends that DOB evaluate the use of outside expertise to supplement DOB’s inspection team, as well as the use of DOB-approved third-party certifiers for comprehensive inspections, if needed.
  • Reform training and licensing requirements, including more crane-specific training for operating engineers. The Working Group recommends that DOB mandate that operators receive training on the operation of cranes with unusually long jib/boom combinations before they can operate such cranes. DOB should limit all hoisting machine operator (HMO) license operators from using long boom/jib configurations unless they receive a specific licensing endorsement, as determined by DOB, for such a configuration.

DOB Actions on Crane Safety Following February’s Collapse:

  • Increased Crane Restrictions. DOB barred from City streets crawler crane configurations that have an out-of-service wind threshold of 20 miles per hour or less, such as the one that collapsed in February.
  • Higher Fines for Safety Lapses. DOB is raising the base penalty for failure to safeguard cranes from $4,800 to $10,000.

Download the 59-page report here:

Source: NYC Buildings