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Premises liability: New York crane accident kills one

Recent accidents in New York show that pedestrians are at risk every time they walk the streets. Negligent parties could be responsible for some of these accidents. A tragic crane accident in Lower Manhattan left one man dead and three others injured.

The construction crew operating the crane was attempting to secure the crane because of the wind gusts and falling snow in the area. As they began to bring down the 565-foot-high boom of the crane, the crane began to topple over. It ended up falling from the sky and crashing onto the street below. Two of the three injured people were taken to the hospital and were listed as stable. The third person's injuries were minor.

The crew was using the crane, or crawler, to install generators and air-conditioning units on top of the former Western Union building on Hudson Street. The large crane, operated by Galasso Trucking and Rigging, was able to carry up to 330 tons and handle wind gusts of up to 25 miles per hour. The wind gusts on the day of the accident were close to 20 miles per hour, which is why the crew decided to bring the crane down to a secure level.

The damage was profound, with debris scattered everywhere and multiple gas and water leaks. While the leaks were not deemed by officials to be dangerous, gas service was shut off in the area. Officials also demanded that the city's 376 other crawler cranes and 43 of the larger tower cranes be secured.

Officials have taken note of the increase in New York City construction fatalities and injuries. In November, the New York Times found that the increase of deaths in and injuries exceeded the rate of new construction. The lack of supervision at the construction sites and failure to implement proper safety measures may have played a role in this increase. With the lives of construction workers and pedestrians at risk, Mayor de Blasio is increasing his efforts to improve construction safety.

The city comptroller has said that the Buildings Department has not properly inspected the cranes being used. A spokesman for the Buildings Department has reported that they will hire additional crane inspectors to help the situation. Hopefully, these improvements will reduce the number of injuries and deaths occurring on the streets of New York.

Source: The New York Times, "Crane Collapse in Lower Manhattan Kills One Person," Rick Rojas & Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Feb. 5, 2016

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Michael J. Gaffney, Attorney at Law
1164 Victory Blvd.
Staten Island, NY 10301

Phone: 347-286-1937
Fax: 718-447-9908
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