UPDATE: NYC mayor implements construction crane safety plan after deadly collapse

UPDATE: Mayor Bill de Blasio said that as of today, the city is implementing a four-point construction crane safety plan as a result of Friday's incident. The plan includes placing new restrictions on crawler cranes during windy conditions, doubling fines for equipment operators who don't follow safeguards, increasing attention to pedestrian safety near crane sites, and better notifying buildings located near cranes, according to the Associated Press. 

After Friday's collapse, 376 other crawler cranes and 43 larger tower cranes throughout New York City were ordered to be secured for safety, according to the AP.

Dive Brief:

  • A construction crane collapsed in downtown Manhattan Friday morning, killing one pedestrian and injuring three others, according to ABC News.
  • During a press conference, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the crawler crane fell as it was being "lowered into a safe and secure position," ABC News reported. He said the crane manufacturer requires the machinery to be placed into a secure position when winds reach 25 miles per hour, and, during the winter storm Friday morning, wind gusts were approaching that threshold. 
  • De Blasio said an investigation — which could take weeks — is currently underway to determine the exact cause of the collapse. He said Friday's incident was the first crane collapse in New York City since 2008. The crane was reportedly owned by Bay Crane and being used by Galasso Trucking and Rigging. It had been inspected by the Department of Buildings the day prior to the collapse.

Dive Insight:

The New York City incident is the second major crane collapse in recent months. In Septembera construction crane collapsed into the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, killing 107 people and injuring hundreds more. 

Mecca had pumped up construction in the months prior to the crane collapse in preparation for the coming wave of visitors, especially for the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. The Grand Mosque — the largest mosque in the world — has been undergoing a massive expansion to add 4.3 million square feet to the space in order to accommodate 2.2 million people in the mosque at once. 

Manhattan also saw a major crane incident in May, when a cable snapped from a crane working on a high-rise office building. The HVAC unit being lifted by the crane fell nearly 30 stories, injuring eight pedestrians and two construction workers.

In 2014, 22 bystanders in New York City were hurt in 18 construction accidents — marking the greatest number of non-construction worker accidents involving job sites since the city's Department of Buildings began tracking them in 2008.

The department also reported that construction-related fatalities overall in Manhattan nearly doubled between June 2014 and June 2015, from six to 11. The surge in construction deaths and injuries has accompanied a building boom in the city.

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Filed Under: Commercial Building
Top image credit: Flickr; BranderGuard