The crane operator who was working on a subway extension last week when a worker was killed has been found to be directly involved in at least two prior accidents. Lawrence Anderson, licensed by New York since 1996, was involved in lawsuits related to workers being injured during his time operating a crane.
Anderson testified in both work-related work lawsuits that the cranes he was operating were neglected in safety inspections. He also stated he was unsure of the safety of overriding the crane’s safety system and only did so after watching other workers do it.
The latest accident involved the 230 ton crane collapsing while Anderson was at the controls. The boom of the crane collapsed, causing debris to fall down on other co-workers. A laborer, Michael Sumermeyer was killed and other worker suffered serious injuries. The crane’s boom cable snapped and investigators are now working to find out why.
Anderson, 56, is now under close scrutiny as investigators try to explain the multiple accidents he has been involved in. He has been working in the construction industry since the mid-70’s and was licensed at the time of the accidents. Throughout the several depositions he’s been involved in, Anderson cited neglect by the crane owners for proper safety inspections. He stated in one case that in the three months Anderson had been working on a job site, he never say authorities from the city or the state come on-site to inspect the crane. Crane owners are required by law to inspect a crane each day before it is put in use.
Investigators are still looking into the most recent incident.