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City and owners share blame for increase in crane accidents

The sight of cranes crowding the New York City skyline has become an all-too-familiar sight, and as the rate of crane accidents rises, so does the city's determination to cut the number of construction accidents. Numerous factors are cited in the rise of crane accidents, and as the pressure to investigate these cases of construction accidents rises, inspectors are resigning. This leaves the city handicapped in its efforts to ensure safety regulations are being followed by owners and operators. Those inspectors who do remain confess that they are overtaxed with inspections.

Records show that the reduced number of inspectors have led to contractors being left to police themselves. The pressure on construction workers to finish on time and under budget puts a limit on the level of care that they are able to perform. Operators have had their licenses suspended for attempting to take shortcuts such as taking on twice the load that a crane is able to handle. Others are working on sites without the proper OSHA training.

In February, MTA officials held a meeting during which they discussed the necessity of proper training, but the city itself failed to honor its commitment to hire a backup safety officer on an MTA job site. That same month, a crane collapsed, killing a 30-year-old construction worker.

While the city shares the responsibility for the rise in crane accidents, construction workers are at risk for their lives and livelihoods. In the event of an injury at a construction site, consulting with a legal professional may help those affected with the process of dealing with the effects of ignoring safety standards in the workplace.

Source: New York Daily News, "Owners, operators at fault in spike in scary crane accidents," Greg B. Smith, April 2, 2013

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