On May 31, 2015 construction workers at a high rise on Madison Avenue were attempting to hoist a 4-ton air conditioning unit into an opening on the 30th floor when things went awry. For reasons yet unknown, the unit suddenly broke free of the crane and then fell the 30 stories to the street below but not before parts of the unit smashed into the building. Photos of the high rise building where the accident occurred depict a massive hole in the structure and debris including broken glass scattered over the street below.
Fortunately, there were no serious injuries or fatalities. Two construction workers and eight other persons who were pedestrians or in passing motor vehicles sustained minor to moderate injuries. The lack of injuries was due to the fact the activity was done on a Sunday so that traffic could be blocked. The building was also unoccupied in accordance with construction code.
The buildings commissioner commented that the crane was in good condition and that no violations for the site were outstanding. An investigation into the cause is continuing.
Why Do Crane Accidents Happen?
According to OSHA, about 8% of crane accidents occur because the crane boom collapsed or buckled. Collapses may occur because of improper blocking or the improper use of supports to balance and stabilize the load. If weight is added to the crane to prevent movement or tipping, it could contribute to the collapse. There are weight restrictions and if exceeded, a hazardous condition may be created that increases the risk of buckling or collapsing.
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The air conditioning unit may not have been properly secured. Operator error is frequently a cause as well. Statistics indicate that about 71 fatalities occur each year from crane accidents including contact with power lines, improper maintenance or inspection and lack of training to certify operators.
Liability for Crane Accident Injuries
Under New York’s Labor Code 240(1), contractors and property owners in construction accidents like this can be held absolutely liable for injuries to construction workers. An injured worker can sue for negligence as well as the owner’s and general contractor’s violation of New York State Labor Law 240(1). An injured construction worker can seek money damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, as well as other items of economic loss.
If you have been injured in a crane accident contact us 24/7, to find out how we can help you with your Crane Accident Case.
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Oresky & Associates, PLLC. was recognized in the New York Law Journal and in New York Magazine “Top Verdicts & Settlements” during 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014 in having some of the highest money awards in New York State for construction accident cases.
You can read more about major crane collapses and the resulting settlements in our article here. Prior results do not guarantee a future similar outcome.