Council to Hold High-Rise Construction Site Safety Hearing in April

March 21, 2008
In response to the fatal March 15 crane accident in Midtown Manhattan, the New York City Council will hold an April 29 hearing to examine whether the city’s crane regulations are sufficient for ensuring the safety of both workers and pedestrians.

“We don’t yet know all the facts that led to the east side crane collapse, but we do know that we must take whatever actions in our power to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Council Speaker Christine Quinn. “Construction is a crucial component of our economy, but we cannot sacrifice safety in the name of development. Our thoughts and prayers remain with all the families that were affected by the tragic accident.”

Housing and Buildings Chair Erik Martin-Dilan called the accident “a horrible reminder that we can never let down in our pursuit of the best construction site safety standards possible.” He added, “Because of the rapid pace of development, we should proceed more cautiously. We need to know what we can do to keep everyone, workers and residents alike, out of harm’s way.”

Council member Jessica Lappin, who represents the affected area, also commented on the repercussions of the crane collapse. “Those who have suffered through this tragic event will be dealing with the aftermath of the accident long after this story has faded from the headlines,” she said. “We owe it the victims and their families to find the solutions that will keep this from happening again, and I look forward to being apart of that process.”

The hearing will tie into the council’s effort to examine the level of construction in New York and what steps the city government and the industry can take to implement the highest safety standards possible at all development sites.

According to the Council, this is the latest in a series of Council hearings designed to improve construction site safety. Previous hearings have examined, among other topics, if worker training needs to be enhanced, whether city regulations for high rises are sufficient, if there is a large enough workforce to keep pace with development demands and whether the time frame for the development of high rises is appropriate.

In April, the city council will announce final recommendations of the Department of Buildings task force, which aim to improve the enforcement and inspection capacity of the agency.

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