Industry News: Ongoing Probe Shows Defects in Crane System; Judge Clears Lomma on All Charges
Ongoing Probe Shows Defects in Crane System
Investigations are ongoing into the April 3 deadly crane collapse at the No. 7 subway line extension site between 33rd and 34th streets on Manhattan's West Side. The Dept. of Buildings said in the days following the accident that it found defects in the hoisting system of the crane, a Manitowoc 4100 model.
"The maintenance and operation of the crane in the days and weeks prior to this tragic accident [have] become the focus of our investigation," said Robert LiMandri, DOB commissioner, in a statement. The agency is investigating along with the Manhattan District Attorney's office, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other authorities. The accident killed Michael Simermeyer, who worked for crane owner and operator J&E Industries LLC, Far Rockaway, N.Y.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority temporarily suspended construction on the project and ordered crane inspections at every MTA Capital Construction worksite.
The MTA said in a statement that the crane passed an annual DOB inspection on July 14. However, a separate DOB inspection scheduled for Jan. 10, which was to be performed to change the month of the annual inspection cycle to February from July, was not completed because the crane was in operation at the time, the MTA says.
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Judge Clears Lomma on All Charges
James lomma, who faced multiple counts of negligent homicide and other charges in connection with the deadly 2008 tower crane collapse, was cleared of all charges on April 26. Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Daniel Conviser delivered the verdict in a case that began in February and garnered national attention.
Lomma, who owns New York Crane & Equipment Corp., Brooklyn, and transport services firm J.F. Lomma Inc., South Kearny, N.J., faced 15 years in prison if convicted. He was charged in connection with the deaths of Donald Leo and Ramadan Kurtag, members of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 14-14B.
Following the judge's verdict, New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. released a statement saying he was disappointed with the judge's verdict. "Each case we have brought in this area has put increased scrutiny on the construction industry as a whole and has had a cascading effect on safety practices," he said. Vance added that the tragic deaths in this case "showed the serious and fatal consequences that can result when profit is put ahead of safety."
DOB to Accept 3D Site Safety Plans From Large Sites
The Dept. of Buildings has launched a program that accepts electronic three-dimensional, interactive images of the site safety plans that are required for New York's largest projects before permits can be issued. New York is among the first cities worldwide to accept 3D site safety plans for construction operations and approvals, DOB says.