At a hearing this morning, the City Council discussed seven legislative reforms regarding construction site safety, including three bills that would further regulate crane operations.
If passed, the legislation would force crane operators to undergo a 30-hour certified training course and to attend refreshers every three years. (Currently certification is not compulsory for crews that “jump” cranes.) It would also require a licensed individual to monitor concrete operations, which Robert LiMandri, the acting commissioner of the Department of Buildings, called a “high risk endeavor” responsible for 59 percent of material falling from building sites.
“We can’t have a city where people feel unsafe to walk down the sidewalk because there’s a crane working on that block,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. “But we also can’t have blocks where cranes aren’t working.”
The seven bills are the first of 13 to address the fatal crane collapses on 51st Street at Second Avenue on March 15 and at 91st Street and First Avenue on May 30. The bills were proposed by roughly a dozen Council members, including Councilwoman Jessica Lappin, who represents the Manhattan district where both accidents, which killed a total of nine people, occurred.
Edward Malloy, President of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council, which represents 100,000 workers in New York City, objected to certain parts of the legislation. Although he and the industry he represents largely agrees with the reforms, Mr. Malloy took issue with the stipulation that training courses come under the authority of the Department of Education.
“Let’s be judicious and smart about how we implement [these proposals],” he said.
The Department of Buildings has already increased its number of crane inspectors and revised its inspection criteria. Mr. LiMandri added that the department expects to have the findings from its investigation into the collapses within six months.