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Investigation Continues into East River Crane Collapse

Jan 18, 2013

City officials in New York continued their investigation this week into a crane collapse at a construction site on Jan. 9.

Seven workers were injured and several were trapped beneath the collapsed crane following the incident. None of the construction workers involved in the collapse sustained life-threatening injuries and all are recovering.

The investigation into how the crane collapse occurred however, continued this week, according to a report from The Queens Chronicle. The construction site was being prepared for an apartment complex in the Hunters Point region of the city, known as the TF Cornerstone project, located near the East River waterfront.

Work was in its preliminary stages at the time of the incident. Scaffolding was only constructed around the first flood of the building and the crane was able to cut through all that work and what had been constructed of the building.

At the time of the collapse, workers recalled hearing a cable snap and many began to flee the scene. Instead of just the cable snapping, the entire crane began to collapse. Early results of the investigation indicate that at the time of the collapse the crane was attempting to lift a load that weighed twice the capacity it was able to lift and that likely resulted in it collapsing.

According to New York Building Commissioner Robert LiMandri, the crane operator was attempting to lift a load outside of the designated loading zone. That being the case, he was unable to see exactly what he was lifting and was unaware of how heavy that particular load was. The crane operator’s license, a Hoist Machine Operator Class B license, has been suspended in the days since the collapse.

The crane was being subcontracted from New York Crane by Cross Country Construction. New York Crane, according to previous reports, has a checkered safety history and the company’s owner was indicted on manslaughter charges in 2008 following the deaths of two construction workers in the city. He was later acquitted on those charges.

In other reports since that and other crane collapses in the city, questions about the safety of construction sites around New York City have been raised by local politicians and safety advocates. That inquiry has found that city-conducted inspections at construction sites has dropped dramatically in recent years.

Instead, the city is relying on contractors to “self-police” their job sites to ensure that workers’ safety is being accounted for but that has only led to a rise in job site accidents and injuries.

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