Following a recent crane accident in New York City where one construction worker was killed and four were injured, the issue of crane operation licensing in the city has become a hot topic. While the local union that represents crane operators favors a city-based licensure, city officials propose adopting a national licensure with tougher requirements. The overall goal is safer crane operation and fewer construction accidents.

Crane Hazards

For many construction workers, especially those who work in or near large cranes, the threat of physical injury or death is just part of the job. However, cranes can pose hazards to both workers and people near a construction site if a part of the boom or crane collapses, a load is negligently released or a rigging fails. Injuries may include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, crushed limbs or death. The potential dangers and severity of injuries are what make the licensing issue such a controversial and debated topic.

Issue of Licensing

Currently, the Local 14 chapter of the International Union of Operating Engineers controls who operates cranes in New York City. While the union has proposed its own city-based licensure program to the City Council, it sees the national licensing proposal as a political move to challenge their hold on crane work in the city. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the real estate industry, however, say that national licensing makes more sense because of its more rigorous requirements.

National Licensing Proposal

National licensing proposals have been submitted previously to city officials, so the issue of requiring crane operators to hold national licenses is not a new topic. Last year, the Department of Buildings Commissioner proposed crane operators in New York City should take a 40-hour city regulations class and apprentice under a licensed operator in New York City or a comparably-dense urban area.

Safer Crane Operation

While all parties continue to debate the crane operator licensing issue, the ultimate outcome should be safer standards and practices. However, until these issues are worked out and safer measures are instituted, crane and other construction accidents may still occur.

If you or your loved one is injured in a crane operation accident, contact a New York construction accident attorney to discuss your rights and options. A lawyer with experience investigating and litigating crane or construction accident cases may be able to get the help you need to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering.