Crane Accidents

City Tower Crane Inspections Yield Numerous Violations

04/17/08

New York

Original Story (3/15/2008):  Crane Topples in Manhattan, Killing at Least Four People

Officials on Thursday wrapped up their inspections of the city’s cranes, which were prompted by last month’s deadly crane collapse in Manhattan.

The Department of Buildings said that eight of the 29 cranes inspected throughout the five boroughs did not pass inspection. They were issued violations and construction was shut down until they were fixed.

DOB officials said only six of the violations issued were safety-related.

The agency is now inspecting hundreds of mobile cranes, which are smaller than the tower cranes.

On March 15, six construction workers and one other person were killed when a tower crane collapsed and smashed into several buildings in Turtle Bay.

The second round of inspections will wrap up by June.

At the same crane safety meeting, Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster admitted the original permits of the Turtle Bay building should never have been approved, since the building violated zoning regulations.

DOB officials said the zoning issue was not related to the crane collapse.

“I think that the community doesn’t want the building at all,” said Lancaster, “and in fact that property owner has property rights like anybody else who owns property. So they can build a building there, the question is the configuration.”

Sources told NY1 that work on the building was allowed to continue, as the department tried to sort out the configuration issue was its developer.

NY1 reached out to the developer, but has not heard back.

Manhattan Democratic City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin, who interrogated Lancaster on the issue at the hearing, said in a statement: “Approving an illegal 43-story tower on a side street led to the approval of a tower crane at this site. It appears that neither approval should have been granted. It is outrageous that it took a major tragedy and a City Council hearing for this information to come to light.”

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