Inspectors Must be Present During NYC Tower Crane Jumps

The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) has ordered that inspectors play a more visible role in the jumping process for tower cranes. Commissioner Patricia Lancaster announced Tuesday that while the DOB continues to investigate the cause of the March 15 accident that killed seven people, inspectors must be on site whenever a tower crane is raised or lowered.

Lancaster attributed the change in the tower crane protocols to the fact that these machines are “highly engineered structures that present unique challenges both to the operator and workers using them.” Targeting the jumping process specifically, she announced that now the project engineer must provide written jumping protocol, and the general contractor has to hold a safety meeting with the crane operator, jumping crew, and a DOB inspector, prior to the jump.

On Tuesday, the DOB stopped work at three construction sites because of violations found in a sweeping tower crane inspection campaign, according to news reports. Lancaster had ordered the citywide inspections following the March 15 accident. She had announced that any crane operating in an unsafe manner would be shut down immediately.

The citywide tower crane inspection program is expected to be completed by mid-April. The DOB will then inspect the rest of some 220 cranes operating in the city through the end of May. The City Council's Housing and Buildings Committee will hold a hearing April 29 to discuss construction site safety at high-rise developments.