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Recent crane accident highlights danger at construction sites

Recently, a crane in New York City collapsed into the Tappan Zee Bridge, causing damage to one of the lanes on the bridge. Fortunately, no deaths or serious injuries resulted from the incident, but a few people suffered minor injuries and two cars crashed into each other as they tried to avoid being struck by the crane. The crane was being used to build the Tappan Zee Bridge, a project that has been going on for several years with plans for completion in 2018.

"If you had said to me that a boom could fall across the bridge and not hit anybody, I wouldn't have believed it," Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference shortly after the incident.

What caused the crane's collapse?

It is not yet clear why the boom crashed down across six lanes of traffic on the Tappan Zee Bridge. There are three ongoing investigations on the matter. Investigators are examining the black box of the crane as well as interviewing the crane operator. The crane, a Manitowoc 300, is a one-of-a-kind and state-of-the-art construction cane, further clouding the issue as to the cause of the accident.

Crane safety regulations being re-examined

By some miracle, this incident did not cause any deaths or major injuries, but such good luck is never guaranteed. Generally, when crane accidents occur, the possibility for serious injuries and fatalities is significant.

Due to the massive boom in construction projects in NYC, construction accidents have also increased proportionally. In response to concerns over crane safety, the Department of Buildings now requires construction superintendents for all major construction projects, including those that are less than 10 stories. This same superintendent must visit the jobsite everyday that work occurs in order to oversee the project. In addition, New York City has quadrupled the penalties for serious construction safety lapses.

Last February, a falling crane caused a fatality, highlighting the need for additional safety measures. In response, Mayor Bill De Blasio formed the Crane Safety Technical Working Group, which has since proposed many new regulations to ensure that NYC's crane operations move toward becoming one of the safest in America.

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