Tower cranes rise hundreds of feet into the air, growing taller in step with each floor of a new structure. The long boom carries significant weight across huge distances, making these cranes invaluable when building multi-story skyscrapers. However, workers can suffer severe or fatal crane injuries if regulations aren’t strictly followed. Our New York construction injury lawyers take a closer look at the safety provisions of tower cranes and what injured construction workers may be owed after an accident.
NY Industrial Code Provisions for Tower Cranes
NY Labor Law 241 requires owners and contractors to make construction sites as safe as possible for workers. Under Section 241(6), owners and contractors must comply with any rules made by the Commissioner of the Department of Labor to carry out the provisions of the law.
The Department of Labor has created specific construction safety rules in Part 23 of the New York Industrial Code to protect people employed in construction, demolition, or excavation work. N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. Tit. 12 § 23-8.3 set forth the following general provisions for the use of tower cranes:
- Tower crane erection. A licensed professional engineer must certify the ability of the supporting system (including slabs, foundations, and underlying soil) to support the intended loads before the erection of a tower crane. All tower cranes must be erected to the manufacturer's recommendations under the supervision of a competent, designated person. Once built, the crane’s jibs and counterweights must be able to swing 360 degrees without striking any building, structure, or other objects.
- Overload testing. Newly built tower cranes must undergo a static overload test in the direction of least stability before their initial use. A written report of this test must be kept on the job site and available for examination by the commissioner.
- Capacity chart. All tower cranes must have a posted, legible capacity chart in the cab of the crane (or on the remote control stand) that is visible to the operator. The capacity chart must be supplied by the crane manufacturer and include the complete range of crane load ratings at all stated operating radii for each allowable speed and each recommended counterweight loading.
- Construction. Limit switches must be provided as follows to limit trolley travel at either end of the jib, to limit load block upward motion to prevent two-blocking, and to limit the load being lifted to no more than 110 percent of the rated load. All switches must be sealed against unauthorized tampering.
- Cabs and control stations. Crane cabs and remote control stations must be protected from falling objects, materials, and the elements. Cabs and remote control stations must be adequately ventilated and heated to a temperature of at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit in cold weather.
- Accessibility. Adequate and safe means of access to and from cabs and machinery platforms must be provided. A footwalk with suitable handrails must be provided when necessary to inspect the jib attachments of any tower crane.
- Brakes. In addition to hoisting brakes, tower cranes must be provided with slewing brakes to prevent movement of the jib when desired during regular crane operation and trolley brakes capable of stopping the trolley if the rope breaks.
- Electrical equipment. Tower cranes must have grounded electrical equipment, deadman-type controls, and lightning protection. Tower crane brakes must be set automatically in the event of power failure.
- Wind velocity device. Every tower crane shall be provided with a wind velocity measuring device with its sensor mounted on the highest point of the crane.
- Counterweights. Adequate counterweights must be securely fastened to the counter jib to prevent pieces from being accidentally dislodged.
- Inspection and maintenance. If the mast of any tower crane runs through floor openings in the structure where the crane is mounted, its securing wedges or braces must be inspected for tightness and dislocation at least twice each working day.
- Operation of tower cranes. Tower cranes may only be operated by qualified persons and with the full amount of ballast or counterweight as specified by the manufacturer. Tower cranes may not be used when the wind speed exceeds 30 mph and cannot be raised to new operating levels when wind speeds exceed 20 mph.
Let Us Answer Your Questions After a New York City Construction Injury
If a crane seriously hurt you or someone you love, the attorneys at Hofmann and Schweitzer can determine who could be liable for your injury costs. Call us today at 800-362-9329 to have us explain your next steps at no charge to you, or read our FREE guide, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.