Posted by: kaegw | June 5, 2008

Update on NYC crane rules

With another crane collapse last weekend and over 26 workers dead in the past year, NYC continues to struggle with how to handle their construction boom more safely. ENR.com announced today that NYC will now require safety courses for all those working on cranes and a new accident tracking program. The 30 hour course will probably raise awareness in a few workers, but most of us that work around cranes understandthe dangers.

Why do you think so many accidents happen on construction sites? I know inexperience plays a role in many accidents, but I believe our own personal drive for efficiency and production often overrides our judgement. Too many times the machisimo of getting it done quickly controls our actions more than the side of our nature that acts cautiously. So I’m placing the responsibility for many accidents on the dedicated worker who’s pushing for efficiency. What do you think? 

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Responses

  1. A “dedicated worker pushing for efficiency” is sometimes a careless individual taking shortcuts.

    I speak from personal experience as a worker who once suffered from a bizarre form of laziness, which manifested itself even as I was outperforming everybody else. Someone on the go like me didn’t have time to consider alternatives and consequences. But older, achier and wiser now, my attitude has changed quite a lot.

    I have no idea if there is a fundamental issue at play with the rash of crane accidents in New York, but I have some thoughts I’d like to share on the subject.

    Cranes today often have computers on board that can make the job dangerously simple. Rather than the old “seat of the pants” operating method learned gradually on the job with guidance from old hands, we now can depend upon a computer to guide operators who have just completed 180 hours of training geared to passing a test (NCCCO exam).

    Another problem, in addition to the phenomena of teaching to the test (in lieu of more hands on experience), is the fact that you can lie to the computer. Not deliberately, per se, but also through simple ignorance or carelessness. For example, if I neglect to inform the computer that I have shortened my outriggers, switched from a four-part line to two-part and have the fly section attached, my hoisting capacity is well above safe working limits, and the computer has no idea. Disaster awaits, as ever, very patiently.

    In my experience, most accidents are the result of simple carelessness in one form or another, well intended or deliberate. My attitude is: If you want to take risks, go bungee jumping, but don’t jeopardize people on the job who are in possession of better judgment, and who would like to live long enough to pass it along to someone who wants to learn.

    That’ll be two cents, please.


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