Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York announced stricter crane safety regulations following a crane collapse on Lower Manhattan Street Friday morning.
A 38-year-old man Wall Street worker was killed during the collapse and three others injured (read related story). According to reports, the 15-story construction crane was being lowered to safety in a snow squall when it collapsed onto the Worth and Church streets in Tribeca.
“Investigation’s underway now, including by the NYPD and the Department of Buildings, and there’s a forensic investigation underway looking at the equipment itself. So again, I’m sure there’ll be questions – questions about which theories we were working on – we don’t do anything hypothetically when it comes to a matter this serious. We are looking at all elements: the way different personnel handled the situation, we’re looking at the equipment itself. Everything is being investigated by Department of Buildings and by NYPD,” said Mr de Blasio.
The new policies, according to Mayor de Blasio will take effect immediately.
“First, we are putting new restrictions on crawler cranes. Until further notice, crawler cranes must cease operation and go into safety mode whenever steady winds are forecast to exceed 20 miles an hour, or gusts are forecast to exceed 30 miles per hour,” said Mayor de Blasio.
More sidewalk protection for pedestrians will also be required.
“Department of Buildings, Department of Transportation, NYPD, and FDNY will all be working together on this effort. We’ll be ramping up enforcement of pedestrian protections. In any situation where there will be a securing of a crane and pedestrians are not supposed to pass in the affected area, of course, we’ll require the work crews to ensure that that’s not happening. They are liable for violations if they do not do that, but, on top of that, we’ll be sending in uniformed city personnel to ensure that pedestrians are kept safe, said Mayor de Blasio.
“Third, we’ll be making sure that residents and businesses know when a crane is being moved into the secure position. Previously, operators were only required to notify the community when a crane was first installed. We will now require notification of the surrounding community when a crane is being put into a secure position. If that is happening the day – if we know that will happen the day before, the announcement will be made in advance. If it’s something that has to be done on an urgent basis, they’ll be required to immediately notify people in the surrounding community even as the process of securing the crane is beginning.
“Fourth, we’re going to leave no stone unturned in terms of learning from this accident and determining if we need other safety measures going forward. We’re putting a task force to propose additional regulations and additional best practices to make sure New York City’s cranes are the safest in the world. Over the next 90 days, the task force will work to evaluate Friday’s collapse and to determine if we need additional safety strategies.
Mr de Blasio said the incident serves as a reminder to take safety seriously.
“Friday’s incident obviously is a warning that we take very seriously. We all know there is a construction boom going on in our city. And although we value the work that’s being done, the value of what it means for our economy – we value the jobs that are being created – nothing is more important than the safety of our people. So, we are going to make sure that the people of New York City are safe during this construction boom, and if we have to take strong measures to put limits on construction, we will do so. I’ll state something that’s obvious, but needs to be reflected in all of our laws, and rules, and regulations – there’s no building that is worth a person’s life. So, we’ll make sure the people of this city are safe.”