New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler have formed the New York City Crane Safety Technical Working Group. Over the next 90 days, the group will review and recommend new policies for safe crane operations within the city.
The Crane Safety Working Group is part of several initiatives implemented after a crane collapsed in Lower Manhattan on February 5. The crane was being lowered and secured due to heightened winds, according to press reports. One person was killed when the long boom of the crane fell to the street.
According to the press NYC Department of Building (DOB) press release, the Working Group will “propose additional best practices and regulations to make cranes operating in New York City the safest in the world.”
Just after the incident, the NYC Department of Buildings implemented several directives for crawler crane operation, which include:
New Restrictions on Crawler Cranes: Until further notice, all crawler cranes are required to cease operation and go into safety mode whenever steady winds are forecast to exceed 20 mph or gusts to exceed 30 mph. Through rulemaking, DOB is raising the base penalty for failure to safeguard cranes from $4,800 to $10,000.
More Sidewalk Protection for Pedestrians: The Fire Department NY and the Department of Buildings have increased enforcement of sidewalk and street closures related to crane activity, including the requirement that pedestrian traffic managers are present when large cranes operated in areas with significant pedestrian traffic. In addition, DOB is conducting inspections and issuing violations to crane firms, operators and other personnel if flaggers are not appropriately restricting pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
Improved Notification for Surrounding Residents and Businesses: Prior to moving a crane, operators are required to notify those who live or work in the area. Previously, crane operators were required to notify residents and businesses only when the crane is first installed.
According to press reports, these new wind restrictions could negatively impact construction projects in New York, potentially shutting down many safe crane operations.