NYC operator’s license suspended after crash with building
The day after a 250-foot-high crane crashed into a 25-storey building in Lower Manhattan, the New York City Buildings Department on Sunday suspended the crane operator’s license, claming he had failed to secure it before leaving the site.
A buildings department spokeswoman on Monday said the cause of the crash was still under investigation but crane operator Christopher Cosham’s failure to secure the mobile crane was a contributing factor to the crash. Investigators are looking at possible mechanical issues and additional citations may be issued, said Carly Sullivan, a spokeswoman for the buildings department.
Cosban, who has held a license to operate a top crane since 2002, faces a hearing over his license within five days, Sullivan said.
Just after 7 p.m., Saturday, the boom of the crane began to list after the work crew had left for the day, according to city’s Buildings Department. The boom crashed against the 25-storey building at 80 Maiden Lane, where the mobile crane had been lifting air-conditioning and cooling equipment to the roof. The crane was dismantled and removed by Sunday morning, Sullivan said.
There were no injures and the occupants were evacuated from five nearby buildings Saturday but allowed to return Sunday morning, Sullivan. The parapet atop 80 Maiden Lane was damaged in the crash, she said.
Skylift Contractors Corporation, the crane’s operating company, blamed mechanical failure for the accident, according to reports. Bay Crane owns the crane.
After several serious crane accidents including two that killed nine people in 2008, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Building Department launched new safety measures to monitor contractors’ safety records more closely and make it easier to shut down the most serious offenders. The measures include training requirements and safety rules in key areas such as crane operations to make construction sites safer. According to city records, since the new rules went into place the number of construction accident have been reduced to 3 in 2009 from 19 in 2008.
The accident also follows the recent admission the city’s former top crane inspector, James Delayo, to accepting more than $10,000 in bribes to falsify crane licensing and inspections, according to the New York County District Attorney’s office. The bribery charges were not linked to the nine deaths, but District Attorney Cyrus Vance said Delayo’s “willful disregard for the safety of this equipment and the skill of crane operators endangered the lives of Manhattan’s residents, visitors and construction workers.”