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No Major Crane Accidents So Far This Year in NYC

Given the amount of high-rise construction going on in New York City, it’s a wonder there are not more crane accidents.  Fortunately, there has not been a major incident in the city since 2013. However, crane accidents continue to be a significant source of injuries and fatalities at construction sites across the United States and beyond. 

Examples include several recent crane accidents in which no one was seriously hurt.  A crane removing a fall tree from the roof of a house in Largo, Florida tipped and caused significant property damage to cars and houses in the immediate area.   Apparently the weight of the tree was just too much for the crane. Another recent crane accident resulted in neither injury nor significant property damage, but again, it easily could have.  This incident occurred in west Houston, Texas, about two weeks ago. A Canadian crane accident at a wind farm in Ontario involved a crane being driven from one work area to another on the site.  How and why it toppled over is under investigation.

Although the crane operators and passersby were lucky in these incidents, most crane accidents involve injuries or fatalities.  For example, an accident on Cape Cod in Massachusetts killed two workers.  An OSHA investigation found that the company had not set up the crane correctly, nor had it provided proper training for workers.  An Alaska truck driver was injured when a crane arm fell onto his truck and rushed the cab. A crane collapse in Hallandale Beach, Florida, killed one of the workers while the crane was being moved last June. An operator in Quebec was seriously injured when the crane collapsed into the hold of the ship he was unloading in September.

Of course, crane accidents are not limited to the U.S. and Canada. A crane lifting a load estimated to be between six and nine tons collapsed onto the cab of the crane in September, killing the operator. This accident occurred in Malaysia. In a suburb of Paris, a crane tipped over, falling onto the cab and killing the workers inside to fall more than 60 feet. Last June, a tower crane collapsed in Switzerland, killing the operator and seriously injuring another worker as they tried to fix a problem with the crane.

The last major crane accident in New York City occurred in January 2013, when a crane working on the development of a luxury housing complex on the Queens waterfront along the East River collapsed.  Three workers were trapped underneath the collapsed crane, and four others were injured. According to the report in the Daily News, the crane belonged to New York Crane, whose owner was acquitted of criminally negligent homicide after a crane accident in 2008 that killed two workers in Manhattan.