"One of the best decisions I had ever made"
- Joseph Lugo
New York, New York – June 22, 2009 – Three cities have joined together in an enormous effort to make construction sites safer. Building officials in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia are creating a new database to share critical information about active tower cranes in these cities. The plan is the latest push to improve crane safety to avoid crane collapses after two New York City crane accidents left nine people dead in 2008. In any given day, there are more than 50 active tower cranes in those three cities alone.
“This great use of technology will undoubtedly improve the ability of the building officials to make construction sites safer for all. Regulating cranes will protect public safety and the workers,” says David Perecman, a New York construction accident lawyer who looks forward to seeing the database expand to cover cities nationwide.
Officials say their goal is to share information about the design and building of these tower cranes, as well as track other important details, including manufacturer recalls, crane equipment failures, inspection records, operational failures and construction site accidents. Crane tracking is one of the recommendations that developed from the High Risk Construction Oversight study, which the Department of Buildings launched in July, 2008 in response to an increase in construction accidents.
As reported by The New York Times, the lack of tracking system has vexed the Buildings Department many times. Without one, inspectors, investigators, agency officials, and construction accident lawyers have no way of finding job sites where reported contractors or companies with histories of trouble or suspicious activity are working.
‘At least something good came out of the great tragedies of last year. Of course, it’s hard not to look back and say this could have been done sooner and the deaths prevented, but better late than never,” says Perecman. Other New York construction accident lawyers would be inclined to agree.
The new database is set to be up and running by the end of June. Initially the program will only cover New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia, but other cities across the country are expected to join the common database in the coming months.