STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A crane operator working on a project in Manhattan where a fatality occurred on the job has been issued 22 stop work orders — including one for a Staten Island site — and fines of up to $110,000 from the city Department of Buildings (DOB).
Work using a crane operated by the Long Island City, N.Y.-based United Crane & Rigging Services was halted on the College of Staten Island (CSI) campus in Willowbrook by DOB, agency records show.
United was allegedly involved in a fatal accident on April 13, 2019, at 570 Broome St., Manhattan, in which “the counterweight of a crane that was being assembled under United’s supervision fell to the ground and killed a worker,” said DOB in a written statement.
In addition, DOB has identified the firm as responsible for a crane accident on July 30 at a NYCHA building at 749 FDR Drive.
DOB’s records show the crane work at CSI is for “maintenance of existing telecommunication equipment at the property.”
CSI officials said they were unaware of the stop work order issued by DOB on Monday.
“Wireless Network Group (WN), a contractor for Sprint, hired United Crane to perform maintenance on their wireless antenna that sits on the 1M smoke stack on the College of Staten Island campus,” said Hope Berte, interim vice president for CSI campus planning, facilities management and operations.
“CSI rents the air space to Sprint. The college was not notified of a stop work order for this particular project,” she added.
LENGTH OF STOP WORK ORDER
The DOB order will remain in effect until the firm replaces the personnel who supervised the crane work at CSI and the 21 other locations, and puts in place an independent monitor who will make monthly safety-compliance reports to DOB regarding United’s work, said the agency in a written statement.
An investigation of the FDR Drive incident revealed that the crane’s operator lifted a load of steel beams that weighed more than 4,400 pounds, exceeding the crane’s permitted lifting capacity of 3,700 pounds, according to DOB.
“The total load weight caused the crane’s boom to bend and partially collapse. The collapse of the boom caused the operator to lose control of the load, which struck the roof and side of the building before falling to the ground. The load of steel was intended to be placed on top of the building to support future mechanical equipment,” said DOB.
In turn, DOB issued five violations to United that carry penalties of $110,000. The violations include: failure to designate a qualified and competent lift director; failure to make proper notifications to DOB regarding the work that was being performed; inadequate safety measures on site; failure to safeguard the construction site to protect workers and the public; and failure to have proper construction documents on site.
The 570 Broome St. accident remains under investigation by DOB and partner agencies. “DOB will take any and all appropriate enforcement actions once this investigation concludes,” said the agency in a statement.
When reached by the Advance, United Crane & Rigging Services declined comment.
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