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For Immediate Release
December 16, 2008


Ten Crane Manufacturers from Around the World Discuss Ways to Improve Safety

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri is hosting a conference today with 10 major crane manufacturers on the safety and maintenance of tower and mobile cranes. At the Department's Manhattan headquarters, manufacturers from Germany, Japan, Malaysia and the United States are gathering to discuss ways to improve crane safety, implement new technologies to track cranes across jurisdictional borders and develop maintenance and repair records for the life of the equipment. Participants also are identifying ways to standardize regulations, including critical procedures involving inspections, maintenance and recertification after major repairs.

The crane manufacturers who are attending the conference today represent 50% of all the cranes registered in the City. The event is part of the Department's $4 million study of high-risk construction where Department officials have been working with engineering experts and industry members to improve excavations, concrete and crane operations. Today's meeting continues the international dialogue initiated at the Department's October crane safety conference with more than 50 government officials from around the world.

"This is a landmark conference that brings together some of the world's leading crane manufacturers into one room to discuss a common solution for safety," said Commissioner LiMandri. "Cranes easily move through different jurisdictions with varying degrees of oversight, and the national standards have not been updated for nearly 40 years. Therefore, to improve crane safety in New York City, we are reaching out to all of the parties involved and looking beyond our borders to develop the best ways to protect millions of New Yorkers."

Below are some of the topics being discussed at today's conference:

  • New Safety Equipment: The technology of cranes has significantly improved over the past four decades, and the development and installation of advanced equipment may influence future regulations. For example, black box technology, which records the operational history of a crane, is installed in some cranes in New York City but not all. Participants are discussing ways to encourage or require such new safety equipment.

  • Tracking System for Crane Parts: Main parts of a tower crane are interchangeable and regularly travel across different jurisdictional borders, yet there is no standard to track them. By having crane manufacturers label crane parts in a permanent way that they can be tracked, a universal standard could be created to monitor their maintenance and repair history in different jurisdictions.

  • Crane Maintenance Log: Construction and public safety experts agree that national standards for cranes are needed to improve the quality of crane repairs and the safety of crane operations. Not having the ability to quantify the quality of a repair makes it difficult to ensure that crane operations are safe. Meeting participants are exploring ways to develop standards for such repairs and how to implement them

Today's conference included representatives from the following jurisdictions:

  • Dunlop Mastclimber (U.S.)
  • Favelle Favco Cranes USA Inc. (Malaysia)
  • Liebherr-Werk Biberach GmbH (Germany)
  • Link-belt Construction Equipment (U.S.)
  • Manitex (U.S.)
  • Manitowoc (U.S.)
  • Morrow Equipment Company (U.S.)
  • Tadano Cranes (Japan)
  • Terex Cranes Wilmington, Inc. (U.S.)
  • TES Inc. (U.S.)

Following the two crane collapses this year, the Department expanded crane inspection checklists, hired engineering experts to evaluate crane operations, and implemented tougher regulations than ever before. In June, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Commissioner LiMandri, along with the City Council and members of the industry, announced 12 pieces of proposed legislation to improve construction safety citywide, with a particular focus on crane operations. Since then, 10 of the bills have been signed into law by Mayor Bloomberg, including mandated training for tower crane workers, the required submission of detailed rigging and jumping plans before a tower crane is raised or lowered and the restricted use of nylon slings.

Contact:     Tony Sclafani/Kate Lindquist  (212) 566-3473