Dept. of Buildings’ engineers have found defects in the hoisting system of the crane that collapsed at the No. 7 subway line expansion site in Manhattan April 3, said Robert LiMandri, DOB commissioner, in a statement. The accident, which occurred shortly before 7:30 p.m. at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority project located between 33rd and 34th Streets on 11th Avenue, killed 30-year-old Michael Simermeyer, a worker for crane owner and operator J&E Industries LLC, Far Rockaway, N.Y. The crane is a Manitowoc 4100 model.
“The maintenance and operation of the crane in the days and weeks prior to this tragic accident has become the focus of our investigation,” LiMandri said. DOB, Manhattan District Attorney’s office, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the New York Police Dept. and other authorities are investigating the accident. “Any contractor who operates on a job site must perform daily and monthly checks to ensure their equipment is safe to use,” LiMandri said.
The MTA suspended construction on the project and ordered inspection of all cranes at every MTA Capital Construction work site on April 4.
The MTA said in a statement that the crane passed an annual DOB inspection on July 14. However, a separate DOB inspection scheduled for January 10, 2012--which was to be done to change the month of the annual inspection cycle from July to February--was not completed because the crane was in operation during the inspection. The top of the first page of the inspection report indicates “no deficiencies,” but the notation at the end of the form reads “crane cannot be laid down to inspect boom section, safetys [sic] only checked, ok to issue three-month extension,” the statement says. A follow up inspection was set to be conducted on April 5.
Meanwhile, crane safety issues have made headlines this year in the wake of a crane cable snap at the 4 World Trade Center construction site on February 16, as well as a controversial DOB proposal announced earlier this year that would eliminate the three-year apprenticeship requirement for tower crane operators seeking New York City licenses.