June 01, 2016

New York City Strengthens Its Crane Regulations

Dealing every day with high winds, dizzying heights, and traffic on the streets and sidewalks, crane operators know better than anyone that construction has never been free from risk. At ProSight, we know that crews do everything they can to ensure worksite and public safety. But when accidents happen, local governments and municipalities are forced to reevaluate construction safety standards and requirements.

One such reaction took place in Manhattan on February 7, 2016, when Mayor Bill DiBlasio enacted stricter rules and more exacting safety procedures for operating cranes in the Big Apple. Two days prior, a fully extended 500-foot crane boom had collapsed, crushing parked cars and killing a 38-year-old trading firm employee. This prompted the mayor to make the following changes:

• Crawler cranes must stop operation and go into safety mode following any forecast of winds higher than 20 miles per hour, or gusts over 30 miles per hour – and failure to comply will result in a $10,000 fine

• Street and sidewalk closings near operational cranes will be more strictly enforced, with violations issued if workers do not restrict pedestrian and vehicle traffic appropriately

• Operators must now inform nearby occupants whenever a crane is moved, in addition to when the crane is first installed

These new regulations are an understandable response to a tragic death, but it doesn’t always take an accident for a jurisdiction to tighten construction safety rules. Wherever heavy machines like cranes are involved, operators should keep abreast of all the local regulations, including proposed changes.

It’s important to remember that best practices mean more than simply abiding by the minimum rules set forth by the government. Going above and beyond the letter of the law will stave off any chance of liability and – more importantly – of tragedy.

For more information about ProSight Specialty Insurance’s all-lines crane solutions, please contact jmorin@prosightspecialty.com.