The city of New York City Department of Buildings in the US is investigating the cause of a tower crane accident that killed two workers on 30 May 2008. According to news reports, the investigation could slow down or halt construction projects with tower cranes in Manhattan until the machines are determined to be operationally safe.

The city of New York City Department of Buildings in the US is investigating the cause of a tower crane accident that killed two workers on 30 May 2008. According to news reports, the investigation could slow down or halt construction projects with tower cranes in Manhattan until the machines are determined to be operationally safe.

In addition, a criminal investigation has been opened by the Manhattan district attorney’s office questioning whether the crane or a damaged component on it was wrongly put back into service after repair, according to news reports.

In March a tower crane accident in Manhattan killed seven workers and nearby residents when the crane went down while it was being jumped (its height was being increased). Two subsequent tower crane accidents in Miami, Florida in April have prompted scrutiny of tower crane operation throughout the US.

According to 2 June 2008 new reports the Buildings Department was also investigating Kodiak brand cranes, which was the make of the crane that toppled last week. Construction was ordered halted at construction sites where Kodiak cranes were in use so that the cranes could be tested and further inspected, according to news reports.

Robert Limandri, acting buildings commissioner, issued a statement on the day of the incident: “I am deeply troubled by the devastating accident that took place today at East 91st Street and my heart goes out to the families of the workers killed and injured. While we have no reason to believe the cause of today’s accident was in any way similar to the crane accident that took place on March 15, I have suspended all tower crane erection, dismantling and jumping operations in New York City until Monday, June 2, 2008 to enable our cranes personnel to focus on remedial work that must take place to make the 91st Street site safe.

“In addition, as the Department conducts its investigation into the cause of today’s tragic accident, forensic experts will be focusing on a particular weld that failed and will be fully examining the crane model – Kodiak – which is no longer in production. There are currently four Kodiak cranes in use in New York City. I am ordering immediate re-inspections of these models and a review of all of their maintenance logs in an attempt to ensure that whatever caused the collapse is isolated to this particular crane.

“Finally, tomorrow morning, I am calling an emergency meeting at the Buildings Department to bring industry experts, labour, crane owners, maintenance companies and OSHA personnel together to make immediate recommendations for our ongoing efforts to make crane operations safer.

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