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Officials play the blame game over New York crane collapse

Recently, a crane collapsed in New York. Investigators claim that a failure of the hoist system in the crane is the suspected cause of the tragic construction accident, which led to one death and three injuries.

The project was run by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which is claiming that blame should not be cast on them. Instead, the agency is highlighting the crane's inspection history as an area to be considered when deciding who is at fault for the accident.

Both the New York City Department of Buildings and the MTA deny blame for the accident. The crane was setting rebar cages at the time of the collapse when the boom snapped, falling to the ground in two separate pieces. One of the pieces landed on a 30-year-old laborer, who was working as a subcontractor, killing him. After the collapse, work at the site was stopped for almost a week, and the MTA ordered all cranes on any of their jobsites be inspected.

The crane was owned by Yonkers Contracting Co., which claims it was inspected last July and passed that inspection. This same crane was scheduled to be inspected again last January; however, the inspection was suspended because the crane was in use at the time the inspectors arrived. The inspection was rescheduled for April 5 -- two days after the accident.

The city has also begun to criticize New York state regulations. The MTA is a state-funded agency, and was allowed to move forward with a construction project that takes place on city property, but was not forced to follow construction laws of the city. To date, the MTA has not released a copy of their inspections, only releasing inspections performed by the DOB.

Source: Engineering News-Record, "Latest New York City Crane Fatality Puts Two Public Agencies at Odds," Jack Buehrer, April 11, 2012

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