Call me paranoid all you like…BUT!
I try to avoid passing under scaffolding…and when I see a crane, I give it a very wide berth. I keep glancing up at the crane expecting it to come crashing down at any minute!
There have been some disturbing equipment collapses in the news, where some crane or scaffold has come crashing down, killing people or damaging property.
I can’t recall hearing about so many crane mishaps before. Suddenly, it’s everywhere! About a week ago, (Aug. 25, 2009) a crane collapsed in New York City, killing an electrician.
According to news reports, a boom snapped off and crushed the man on the Throgs Neck Bridge (Queens side).
I recall another crane accident in New York where the top fell off (May 2008) smashed into the penthouse of a 23 storey building, tore off a row of balconies then crashed into the street below. Two workers were killed.
Also in New York, a falling crane killed seven (7) people (March 2008) on Manhattan’s East Side.
Here in Massachusetts, we have our crane collapses too! One worker was killed, another was critically injured when a crane collapsed into a downtown Boston building (Feb. 2009). The base toppled over and the aerial bucket lift came crashing down.
Another crane collapse (Aug. 2008) at a shipyard in Quincy, MA, killed one person and injured eight.
And there was the (April 2006) collapse that killed three people and crushed cars. The 20-thousand-pound construction platform collapsed, falling thirteen stories on a busy downtown Boston Street. One of the victims was in a crushed car.
There have been similar accidents across the country.
In New York, those accidents caused the knee-jerk reaction I refer to in my post (Elderly Drivers Unsafe? Bah humbug!!). The accident has to happen first, before authorities take action!
According to the New York Times, city officials immediately changed the way the city inspects and regulates tower cranes.
• A city inspector must now be present whenever a crane is erected, jumped or dismantled.
• The project engineer who submitted the original permit application for a crane must show a “written protocol” for each jump, including guidelines for how the work should be done.
• The engineer will have to inspect the crane to certify that it was built and assembled according to plans.
• The lead contractor must hold a safety meeting with workers involved before each jumping operation…and a Buildings Department inspector must monitor that meeting.
I found an old New York Times article that says one New York Company bribed the city’s crane inspectors for years. Inspectors never inspected any cranes – but said they did and that those uninspected cranes were A-O-K!
According to the Times article: Long Island-based crane company, Nu-Way Crane Service, was allegedly engaged in a scheme to buy crane licenses.
A practical exam Crane operator’s license and the passing grade for a crane inspection started at $200. The answers to the written portion of the operator’s test were $3,000.
The inspector, the company’s owner, a crane operator and the company itself were indicted on multiple corruption charges, in 2008.
The Times says the charges were not related to the accidents, but revealed the lackadaisical and occasionally corrupt manner in which cranes and their operators were approved for work in New York City.
The scheme dated back to 1996. Officials found copies of written crane operator’s exams at Nu-Way’s office in Copiague, N.Y.
And we think Michael Vick is bad!