Mayor Appoints NYC Crane Safety Committee's Members

The technical working group's first assignment will be to examine whether current wind restrictions on crawler cranes – the type of crane involved in the recent collapse – reflect the best science. The city already has implemented new directives on crawler cranes

Five people have been appointed to a technical working group that will review New York City's existing crane safety policies and recommend improvements, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler announced Feb. 24. Their 90-day review will also examine the circumstances surrounding a Feb. 5 crane collapse that killed one person; the committee will propose additional best practices and regulations to make crane operations in the city the safest in the world, according to the mayor's office, as the committee consults with stakeholders across the construction industry and workforce.

The five members of the working group are Mary C. Boyce, dean of Engineering at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University; Katepalli R. Sreenivasan, president of NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering and dean of Engineering at New York University; Peter J. Madonia, chief operating officer of the Rockefeller Foundation; Bill Goldstein, who most recently was senior advisor to the mayor for Recovery, Resiliency, and Infrastructure; and Wayne A. Crew, general secretary of the National Academy of Construction.

"We put the safety of our people first. This is a group of dedicated professionals that will ensure we have strong, science-based policies in place to protect New Yorkers as we continue to build the greatest city in the world," said de Blasio.

"I thank the technical working group members for contributing their time and expertise to help make our construction sites safer for workers and the public," Chandler said. "We are determined to improve the safety both of cranes and the neighborhoods in which they work by implementing lessons learned from the collapse earlier this month."

According to the mayor's office, before releasing its recommendations, the working group will consult with members of the existing Crane Rules Advisory Committee of the city's Department of Buildings; it reviews updates to the city's rules and regulations on cranes and includes representatives from the city’s construction industry. The group's first assignment will be to examine whether current wind restrictions on crawler cranes – the type of crane involved in the recent collapse – reflect the best science. The city already has implemented new directives on crawler cranes:

  • Until further notice, crawler cranes are required to cease operation and go into safety mode whenever steady winds are forecast to exceed 20 mph or gusts to exceed 30 mph. Through rulemaking, DOB is raising the base penalty for failure to safeguard cranes from $4,800 to $10,000.
  • The New York City Fire Department and DOB have increased enforcement of sidewalk and street closures related to crane activity, including the requirement that pedestrian traffic managers be present when large cranes operate in areas with significant pedestrian traffic. DOB is conducting inspections and issuing violations to crane firms, operators, and other personnel if flaggers are not appropriately restricting pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
  • Before moving a crane, operators are required to notify those who live or work in the area. Previously, they were required to notify residents and businesses only when a crane is first installed.

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