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Deadly Crane Collapse in New York City

Julie Copeland

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One person died and three others were injured after a construction crane fell in downtown ABC_crane_collapse_10_mm_160205_12x5_1600.jpgManhattan on Friday, February 5, 2016. The crane, which fell in the morning, toppled parked cars on Worth Street in the Tribeca neighborhood.

One person was pulled from a crushed vehicle. According to New York City's Office of Emergency Management, three individuals were injured in the crash, two seriously with lacerations to the head. A fourth individual was killed, and has since been identified as David Wichs, a 38-year-old man.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio shared in a press conference that a full police investigation was underway. He said this was the first crane collapse in the city since 2008. De Blasio said the crawler crane collapsed as it was being "lowered into a safe and secure position." The manufacturer of the crane requires that the crane be moved into a "secure position" if winds top more than 20 miles per hour, according to de Blasio. New York City was experiencing a winter storm with wind gusts in the 20 mile per hour range. The crane was being used to replace generators and air conditioners on the building's roof and had been inspected at 6:20 a.m. on Thursday. It was "found to be in full compliance," city officials said.

The mayor noted that FDNY officers and personnel of utility company Con Ed immediately swept nearby buildings in search of gas links after gas odors were reported in the area. Gas was temporarily turned off in most buildings in the area as a precaution, de Blasio said.

Video of the accident was captured from above. You can see that video here: http://www.nbcnews.com/video/horrifying-nyc-crane-collapse-caught-on-camera-616920643917

Just two days prior to the accident, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) posted a trade news release -- OSHA and Crane, Hoist and Monorail Partners renew alliance to prevent worker exposures to electrical, falls, struck-by hazards.

Through the alliance, participants plan to develop best practice fact sheets and training resources that address electrical hazards, falls and struck-by incidents, and new technology used in the crane, hoist and monorail industry. The alliance will promote cooperative program initiatives including the National Safety Stand-Down and protecting temporary workers. Additionally, the alliance will encourage a culture of safety within the industry including among small businesses and non- and limited English speaking workers.

According to Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels, “Our alliance with CHM has been invaluable in helping to reduce and prevent serious or fatal incidents in the material handling industry. We will continue to focus on efforts and resources that implement best industry practices that help keep crane, hoist, and monorail operators safe and healthy."

The OSHA news release also shares that CHM Partners consist of Crane Manufacturers Association of America, Hoist Manufacturers Institute and Monorail Manufacturers Association. These organizations are members of the Material Handling Institute, which was established in 1945 and is the nation's largest material handling, logistics and supply chain association. The Institute serves 800 member companies, their customers and the industry.

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with unions, consulates, trade and professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools and resources, and to educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. Alliance Program participants do not receive exemptions from OSHA inspections or any other enforcement benefits.

Crane accidents like the one in New York last week are tragic. They are also avoidable. Moving large, heavy loads is crucial to today's manufacturing and construction industries. A great deal of technology has been developed for these operations, including careful training and extensive workplace precautions. Of course, there are significant safety issues to be considered -- both for the operators and for workers in the vicinity.

Arbill is committed to providing quality safety products and services. We encourage employers to partner with Arbill to protect their workers with the proper training and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Have a safe day!

Photo credit: ABC News. Video credit: Glenn Zito

Topics: Arbill, safety training, Worker safety, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

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