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Can recent regulations make NYC cranes safer?

As the construction boom continues in the city that never sleeps, work sites are just a part of the landscape for most New Yorkers. It is easy to take these scenes for granted - but have you ever looked up at a large crane and thought about the person operating it? And the damage or death that could result depending on how that person performs?

Operators of large cranes do critical and dangerous work to help build the greatest city in the world, and that work requires appropriate training. Accordingly, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) has passed several regulations for the training and licensing of crane operators in recent years.

The new requirements bring the city into compliance with OSHA's federal guidelines. They include:

  • An extensive written and practical exam tailored to the specific equipment to be used
  • A 40-hour training course on New York's construction regulations and working environment
  • An eight-hour refresher training course every three years upon license renewal
  • Successful completion of a background check, physical fitness exam and substance abuse test

Are New York's crane regulations enough?

Even though the new requirements have the potential to prevent many tragic accidents, they have faced opposition. Some unions and local agencies have pushed for legislation that would scale back the regulations or completely revert back to New York's old system.

While these measures make safety a priority for crane operators, they cannot prevent all crane accidents on construction sites - as we were reminded by a crane collapse on Worth Street this February. That incident is still being investigated and a cause has not yet been determined.

Is New York doing enough to prevent accidents on construction sites? What role should contractors and jobsite owners play in keeping workers and passersby safe? Give us your thoughts below, or share this post to continue the conversation.

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