Two construction workers were killed in Queens last week when a crane wire snapped, causing a 6,500 pound steel beam to come crashing down onto the crane’s cab. George Smith, a 47 year old crane operator, and Alessandro Ramos, a 43 year old flag man, were killed while guiding the steel beam when the crane collapsed.
Winds at the job site in Briarwood at 82nd Avenue and 134th Street at the time of the collapse were measured to be close to 40 mph. The city’s legal limit for wind speeds when such crane operation is taking place is 30 mph. The I-beam was caused to fall four stories right after noon on Tuesday after becoming disengaged from the crane wire. Notably, high winds contributed to a crane collapse in Tribeca last winter, prompting the city to adopt these new regulations for crane operations on windy days.
Although the crane operation was carried out when the winds were above the city legal limit, Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler stated that the crane’s rigging rope may have failed, causing the I-beam to come crashing down.
According to Cranes Express Inc., the company that owns the equipment, the crane passed a recent annual inspection in June. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a $3,500 to the company last January for a violation at a Brooklyn job site.