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Bloomberg’s Effort to Prevent Crane Accidents

Outgoing NYC Mayor Bloomberg and the city’s buildings commissioner recently introduced new legislation that would limit the age of cranes operating in New York City. Specifically, the bill would stop mobile and tower cranes more than 25 years old from operating within the city limits. The idea behind the legislation is to reduce the incidence of crane accidents.

Cranes would be removed from service based on the age of a rig’s oldest component or on the original date of manufacture, whichever was more recent. Additionally, the law, if enacted, would require owners to install load cycle counters so that every lift a crane performs would be recorded.

Newer crane models are usually electric, require less maintenance and have advanced safety features. Phasing out older models and replacing them with state-of-the-art-cranes should reduce accidents and injuries.

According to Mayor Bloomberg, “New York City has some of the toughest crane regulations in the world, and we enforce crane regulations more stringently than anywhere else. Since 2008, the City has adopted more than 25 new construction safety laws, conducted tougher inspections and raised licensing standards for crane operators. This legislation builds on those efforts by ensuring only state-of-the art, highly reliable equipment is transforming New York City’s skyline.”

Buildings Commissioner LiMandri said, “As building in New York City continues to accelerate, we must encourage crane manufactures to supply the construction industry with modernized equipment. In partnership with Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council, we have made impressive gains in increasing the City’s oversight of crane operations and demonstrated our commitment to making construction safer for workers and the public.”

New York City crane enforcement is more stringent than anywhere else in the world. As a result, according to the Mayor’s office, construction-related fatalities fell 84 percent between 2008 and 2013. This improvement occurred despite growing construction activity in the city.

Since 2008, the Department of Buildings issued cease-use orders for two models of cranes manufactured in the 1970s and 1980s. It also removed 36 tower cranes from service because of documented performance and safety problems. Additionally, the Department of Buildings has instituted numerous crane safety regulations that include:

  • More stringent training, testing and re-testing for licensed crane operators
  • Requiring more detailed plans for setting up and dismantling tower cranes
  • Requiring safety meetings at different stages of a crane’s use on a construction site
  • More inspection and certification by the engineer of record at different stages of operation
  • Prohibiting nylon slings unless recommended by the crane manufacturer
  • Requiring a third-party inspection of tower cranes before being approved for erection

The stringent NYC crane accident prevention efforts are models for cities in the United States and abroad, including the European Union.

Source: Construction Equipment Guide, “Mayor Bloomberg Announces New Legislation to Limit the Age of Cranes Operating in NYC“, Dec. 17, 2013.