Rigger Blamed for Fatal New York Crane Accident

Six construction workers and a tourist were killed, and two dozen other people were injured, when a crane fell onto a neighborhood in Manhattan. A four-story townhouse was destroyed, and other buildings were damaged as pieces of the rig became airborne.

The New York crane accident is being blamed on the rigger, who reportedly did not pad four nylon straps that temporarily secured a steel collar around the crane. Padding would have kept the straps from fraying around the edges of the crane, preventing them from giving way. Because the straps were not padded, one of them frayed and broke, causing the remaining straps to give way. The steel collar then fell nearly 200 feet down the crane, snapping the metal beams that secured the crane to the building while the work was being done.

Prosecutors, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and building officials all blame the rigger’s negligence for the accident. The local building commissioner stated that the rigger’s shortcuts and his failure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions caused the accident. In addition to the lack of padding and the frayed straps, the rigger also failed to follow the manufacturer’s specifications regarding the number of straps advised; he used half the recommended number.

“Those shortcuts sacrificed the safety of the job site and led to horrific consequences,” stated Building Commissioner Robert LiMandri.

While the rigger has been cleared of criminal charges, a city Administrative Law Judge has already found him negligent and in violation of city building laws. He is liable for any damages caused as a result of his negligence-including damage to the building, damage to the neighborhood the crane fell on, and damages to those injured and the families of those killed. The rigger has already settled one lawsuit filed by the widow of one of the deceased.

If you have been injured in crane or construction accident contact an experienced attorney to discuss your rights and options.