New York City Council Passes Crane Safety Regulations

Members of the New York City Council yesterday voted to pass three pieces of legislation to improve construction safety at sites where tower and climber cranes are in use, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Additionally, the council voted on legislation that would make it illegal to scale any city structure over 50 feet tall, including statues, cranes, bridges, signs, or buildings.

As a continuation of the reforms the council has made on the issue of construction site safety, the city council voted on the three following pieces of legislation that will improve safety at sites where tower and climber cranes are being used.

- Heightening communication and coordination of safety procedures. This comprehensive piece of legislation strengthens and better coordinates safety procedure and inspection protocols between the many workers involved in tower and climber crane erection, jumping, climbing, and dismantling operations.

Specifically this legislation requires that licensed engineers and riggers prepare a plan for the erection and operation of a tower or climber crane and file this plan with the Department of Buildings (DOB). Further, prior to a crane's initial erection or dismantling, the general contractor must hold a safety coordination meeting with the engineer, rigger, the crane safety coordinator, and the site safety manager. Records of these meetings must be kept on site for inspection by DOB.

Furthermore, a pre-jump safety meeting must take place no more than 24-hours prior to each instance of a tower or climber crane jump or climb. The general contractor must notify DOB at least 48-hours before any safety coordination meetings or pre-jump safety meetings are held, and these meetings must cover topics related to scope of work, roles and responsibilities, rigging equipment, sequence of operations, inspection of rigging equipment, tools prior to work, review of all equipment, permit validity, qualifications and training of personnel, relevant weather warnings, compliance with the manufacturer's manual.

- Increasing climber and tower crane training requirements. Workers operate climber or tower cranes will be required to complete an authorized 30-hour training course. Workers who have completed the course once will need to take an eight-hour refresher course within three years from the initial course and every three years thereafter. The rigger will be required to certify in a meeting log that all members of the jumping crew have completed training requirements. Additionally, individuals applying for a rigger license will be required to complete another 30-hour training course, with an eight-hour refresher course every three years.

- Limiting the use of nylon slings. This legislation would limit the use of nylon slings in the operation of climber or tower cranes to instances where the manufacturer's manual specifically states or recommends the use of these slings and where certain additional safety measures have been taken.

"The tragedies that have occurred at city construction sites over the past year are both devastating and unacceptable," said Council Speaker Christine Quinn. "The City Council has made a commitment to improving the safety of our construction sites, and today's legislation implements smart regulations around crane operation that will help to protect the workers that are so important to the development of our city and the pedestrians that walk around construction site cranes everyday.”

For more details on the legislation, visit the City Council website.