Regulations have become even stricter, following two crane accidents in Manhattan this year, which killed a total of nine people.
Before a crane is raised or dismantled, there must be signoffs by engineers. Maintenance records, operator certification tests and proof that a safety meeting has been held are among the many requirements necessary before any work can begin.
In September, an update was made to the federal government’s crane regulations, which was the first time in 40 years. This regulation change was the result of deadly crane accidents in New York, Houston, Miami and Las Vegas.
New York has it own regulations and has sought to be a leading national example. Last month, New York hosted a crane safety conference and revealed dozens of new rules intended to encourage accountability and to prevent future crane accidents. However, the city’s construction industry feels that these rules have become to cumbersome to follow and that the rules are difficult to enforce, which could result in expensive delays. According to contractors, construction sites can be shut down for days or weeks for even minor violations, such as a missing piece of paperwork. It can cost a contractor up to $100,000 a day to have a shutdown of a high-profile site.
Following the March and May crane accidents, New York has established laws that require a 30-hour training course for tower crane workers, limit the use of nylon slings that hold construction loads, mandate regular safety meetings before raising and lowering the cranes and overhaul licensing requirements for mobile crane operators.
The New York Department of Buildings does not believe that these new inspection protocols will get in the way of contractors who are operating safe construction sites.
The sites of the worst crane accidents were closed for months following the tragic events. There is still no crane at the site of the high-rise tower that was being built in midtown Manhattan where a crane crashed into townhouse, killing six construction workers and one tourist.