Mayor Bill de Blasio announces new crane safety policies

The mayor’s announcement comes days after a crawler crane collapsed in TriBeCa killing a pedestrian.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday four new policies for crane safety that are to go into effect Monday.

The announcement comes two days after a crawler crane in TriBeCa collapsed, killing David Wichs, 38,  of Manhattan, and injuring three others.

The first new requirement will be for all crawler cranes to cease operations when winds exceed 20 mph, as they did Friday morning. De Blasio, at a conference near the site of Friday’s collapse, said even if there is a forecast of over 20 mph winds or 30 mph gusts, the cranes will be required to be lowered into secure positions.

Galasso Trucking and Rigging, the company operating the collapsed crane, had made the decision not to use the crane Friday morning and lower it because of the strong winds. De Blasio said there was no indication on Thursday that the winds would be that strong on Friday morning.

“To the best of my knowledge, winds of 20 mph or more were not projected,” de Blasio said. He said the investigation to determine what went wrong when the crane was being lowered is still ongoing.

De Blasio added that fines of between $4,800 and $10,000 will be issued for failure to secure cranes in dangerous conditions. 

The mayor said the city Department of Buildings, NYPD and FDNY will work together to create new sidewalk protection requirements for areas where cranes are active. There will be pedestrian traffic managers on projects operating large cranes, he said.

Construction companies will also be required to notify the surrounding community in advance when cranes are being moved, de Blasio said.  

De Blasio also announced the creation of a task force to investigate crane safety in the city during the next 90 days. The task force will make recommendations for any additional measures.

The mayor said he is prepared to put limits on construction in order to ensure the safety of the people in the city.

“There is no building that is worth a person’s life,” he said.

De Blasio said he could not say anything more about the cause of the collapse, as the investigation is ongoing.

“I cannot speculate on what caused this specific collapse,” he said. “We literally do not know yet.”

City officials also announced that, due to the gas leak caused by the collapse, gas remains turned off in some buildings around the collapse site as a precaution. Additionally, two water mains are still in the process of being fixed. Some water service will return Sunday, and the rest is expected to be back by Tuesday.

Nicole Brown