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New York City crane collapses on the rise

The recent collapse of a 380-foot crane in Queens left seven workers injured -- though none with life-threatening injuries -- but it left few observers of the New York City construction business surprised.

The city has seen a series of crane accidents that leave workers, residents and passersby in danger of serious injuries, and worse.

A recent media investigation points the finger of blame at owners of the cranes. The report says those owners aren't having proper maintenance done on the enormous machines and they are hiring crane operators who are then not running the equipment in a safe manner.

That makes for an extremely dangerous combination, to say the least.

In just the past two years there have multiple mishaps with construction cranes, including one in which a worker lost fingers when a crane wasn't properly operated; another in which a construction worker's leg was smashed when a crane knocked concrete on to him; another incident involved a worker being hit by a crane-carried load and falling 32 feet.

Other cranes have tipped over, toppled into buildings and dropped loads that were too heavy for the machines.

In recent weeks, a crane perched on a high-rise collapsed during Hurricane Sandy and then dangled precariously for days. Another crane buckled while lifting a giant air conditioning unit and then a few days later, another crane dropped an AC unit, crushing a man.

One of the problems identified by the media report: city crane inspectors have dwindled in recent years from 10 to just four.

Clearly, fewer inspections put more workers and residents at risk of a crane collapse that can cause terrible injuries.

Those injured are often going to have enormous medical expenses and very possibly a lifetime loss of earning power. They should speak with a law firm experienced in helping injured workers get needed and deserved compensation for those damages.

We'll have more on crane accidents in our next blog post.

Source: New York Daily News, "Owners, operators at fault in scary spike in crane accidents," Jan. 19, 2013

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