Steel Beam Kills Two Queens Construction Workers; Wind Likely a Factor

Two NYC construction workers were killed when a 6,500 pound steel beam came crashing down from the fourth floor or a building after a crane wire snapped. Department of Buildings Commissioner (DBC), Rick Chandler, believes the rigging rope failed which caused the beam to fall. The city will conduct an investigation to find out whether the wind was a factor in the accident; winds were gusting at almost 40 mph.

The equipment is owned by Cranes Express Inc. and was being used to build a residential building in Briarwood, Queens.  Last January, the company received a $3,500 fine from the federal Occupational Satefy and Health Administration for a “serious” violation at a construction site in Brooklyn. A source from DBC said the equipment passed inspection in June and an employee from the company did not have a comment or information at the time.

The city implemented a policy requiring certain cranes to stop operating and enter “safety mode” when steady wind is forecast to be 20 mph or wind gusts are expected to be greater than  30 mph. This policy came as a result of a crane collapse in February 2016 which killed a man in Lower Manhattan. Tragically, it seems the crane in this accident was permitted to operate in violation of the policy.

The crane operator, George Smith and flag man, Alessandro Ramos were killed in this accident. Smith’s neighbors remember him as a great guy, with a “heart of gold” who enjoyed building cars. Ramos’ wife and daughter were deeply saddened by the tragedy and remember him as a great husband and father. His daughter said the last time she saw him she didn’t get to hold him and doesn’t believe the wind was the cause of the accident.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC take pride in representing the workers in all trades.  In the event you have any questions about your rights as a worker, please contact us.

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