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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announces new crane safety rules

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announces new

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announces new crane safety policies at a Feb. 7, 2016, news conference held near the scene of a fatal crane collapse in lower Manhattan. Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

A requirement that cranes be placed in safety mode whenever winds are predicted to be at least 20 mph is among the new measures that Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled Sunday in the wake of a fatal crane collapse.

Operators were following manufacturer requirements when they secured a crawler crane amid 25 mph winds Friday morning, city officials said, but still, the 565-foot piece of machinery crashed down onto a lower Manhattan street, killed one person and injured three others.

“There is no building that is worth a person’s life,” de Blasio said Sunday at the accident site. “Friday’s incident obviously is a warning that we take very seriously.”

Effective Monday, cranes must be secured when steady winds of 20 mph or gusts of 30 mph are forecast, the mayor said. The base penalty for failure to comply will increase to $10,000 from $4,800, he said.

Currently, cranes must be in safety mode — a setting that differs from model to model but can include folding over to increase stability — when sustained winds are in excess of 30 mph and gusts are stronger than 45 mph, city officials said.

De Blasio also announced that:

  • The NYPD and other city agencies will increase enforcement of sidewalk and street closures when cranes are at work.
  • Operators must notify residents and businesses before they move a crane, not just when one is installed.
  • A task force will consider further safety precautions.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who last November said the de Blasio administration failed to implement past recommendations, called the mayor’s actions “an important first step.”

Bay Crane, of Long Island City, which owns the collapsed crane, and Galasso Trucking and Rigging Inc., of Maspeth, which operated it, did not respond to several requests Sunday for comment on the new regulations and the incident itself.

It could take months for an investigation to determine the cause of the collapse, though it appeared the crew Friday was “doing exactly what they were supposed to do at that time,” de Blasio said.

At the scene, remnants of the broken crane, which had been capable of carrying 330 tons, had been removed by Sunday afternoon. The mayor said gas had been shut off in some buildings as a precaution and some subway service was affected. Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joe Esposito said two water main leaks were being repaired.

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