The Manhattan DA's office formally filed charges against two construction supervisors for their roles in a crane accident that left two workers seriously injured. The supervisors face two charges each of felony assault and misdemeanor reckless endangerment.
The supervisors are employees of Western Waterproofing Co., a subcontractor hired by the construction management company, ZDG LLC.
The incident sheds light on mini crane safety concerns
The accident occurred in June 2018 at a construction site in Harlem. The supervisors approved the use of a mini crane to hang a curtain wall. The panels, comprised of glazed windows and steel, were extremely heavy. The supervisors did not offer training to workers, and they did not deploy safety precautions. The crane was not tethered.
The two men injured were working a floor below the crane when it became unbalanced as it lifted the heavy panels into place. When the crane became unsteady, it went crashing down onto the men below, sending one man falling three stories and directly striking the other in the back.
Mini cranes are lightweight and remotely controlled
Mini cranes are remotely operated construction vehicles. The machines are becoming increasingly popular around NYC mostly due to their lower cost and small size. However, many construction companies are not heeding the safety standards, and as a result, they are putting employees at risk for serious injury.
The DA said Western Waterproofing Co. was fully cooperating with the investigation. They agreed to forgo prosecution in exchange for increasing safety standards and awareness around their construction sites. The company deployed safety managers out to various locations to conduct inspections and make changes where needed.
Construction safety is a top priority
Keeping construction workers safe amid the recent building boom is the main priority of city leaders and the standards set by the city's Department of Buildings. It has created mini crane safety standards and guidelines that contractors should follow to keep workers safe.
A fundamental crane use safety measure is tethering the vehicle to keep it from falling if tipped.