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Crane Accident Sends Reminder About NYC Construction Dangers

When road construction season begins in New York, bridge construction also resumes. For example, the work on the Tappan Zee bridge in Westchester County is only one of many bridge projects ramping up in the NYC area this summer.

Sadly, major bridge construction projects are often accompanied by accidents. Using lifts, cranes and hoists leaves workers vulnerable. A bridge construction accident in San Francisco last week that left two workers dead stands as a reminder that working on bridges with cranes is particularly dangerous everywhere.

The workers on a California bridge in Yolo County fell about 100 feet to their deaths last week. A cable apparently broke, tossing the workers out of the basket in which they were riding and sending them to their deaths, according to local law enforcement.

The two men were working on a bridge footing over a creek, a project that had been underway for some months. Why the cable broke is unknown, and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is investigating. The local fire chief reported that the agency had experts on the scene inspecting the crane in an effort to determine why the cable broke.

The possibility of a crane accident such as this one is an important reason why work on high rise residential and commercial buildings and bridges is considered dangerous. Recent media reports about crane accidents in New York have included a crane that became untethered during Hurricane Sandy, allegations of falsifying crane safety inspection reports, an operator whose license was suspended after he tried to lift more than twice the safe load weight, and many more. Recently, a mistrial was declared in a wrongful death lawsuit in which two workers were killed in 2008, drawing attention to crane safety issues even if the families of the workers were unable to obtain justice.

Source: KTVU, "Bay Area construction workers die in Yolo County crane accident," May 30, 2014.