Expert Team Launches Construction Safety Initiative in NYC

Crane operations at construction sites around New York City are one of three activities that will be examined in a $4-million initiative launched by the city's new building commissioner. Robert LiMandri, who was named Acting Buildings Commissioner last week after the resignation of Patricia Lancaster, will hire 20 engineering experts for the safety campaign.

Concrete operations and excavations will also be looked during the in-depth examination which will take place over the next eight to 12 months, according to news reports. “We're gonna look at • top to bottom • those three high-risk areas,” said LiMandri

The team of 20 will focus on materials and processes being used at construction sites, as well as worker training in relation to the three areas. Surveys will be random, and changes will be made quickly. “We're not going to wait for a long report,” said LiMandri. “If the data supports a change • whatever that change may be • we're going to implement it right away, because this is about safety we can't wait."

Lancaster, credited with overhauling the city's building code, resigned April 21 after sharp criticism from Mayor Michael Bloomberg. With several deadly construction accidents occurring on her watch, including a tower crane collapse that killed seven in March, she admitted during a recent City Council hearing that the building under construction at the Manhattan crane site was erroneously permitted. In fact, it did not conform with local zoning codes. Thirteen people have died in New York City crane accidents so far this year.