Industry says ban on operating cranes in high winds is “arbitrary and capricious”
Crane safety is a major concern in New York’s construction industry. Many people want to make cranes as safe as possible for New York’s workers and the general population. These concerns have become more pronounced in the wake of two serious crane collapses this year – one of them fatal.
The deadly Worth Street crane collapse in February occurred during 40 mph winds caused by an approaching winter storm. Since the accident, regulators have begun to enforce NYC’s crane regulations with more zeal – including a ban on crane operation in wind speeds of 30 mph or higher.
Ban on cranes in high winds is unnecessary, group says
A group of construction trade organizers and unions has filed a lawsuit with the Manhattan Supreme Court to challenge a rule by the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB). The rule, which prohibits cranes from operating in windy conditions, has been in place since 1968 but rarely enforced until this year, according to the New York Daily News.
In their suit, industry groups are arguing that the city’s rule doesn’t make workers any safer. They say there is no scientific basis for the 30mph limit. However, the DOB insists that the rule makes workers safer and they plan to fight to keep it in place
What’s the real motive behind the lawsuit?
The industry argues that nullifying the rule would not have any impact on worker safety. At the same time, the construction industry is driven by profits, and those profits are sometimes compromised by safety regulations. If a project requires crane work but the day is windy, it could delay the project and result in additional labor costs.
We believe that safety regulations should be grounded in facts – but we also think it’s essential to put worker safety first in an industry as dangerous as construction. We hope that the resolution of this suit, whatever it is, makes worker safety a priority.
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