New York City to Impose a 25 Year Crane Age Limit

A proposal has been issued from the New York City mayor's office for legislation to limit the age of cranes operating in the city. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri announced on December 10, 2013 a proposal for legislation for a 25-year age limit to remove older cranes from operation and improve the safety of crane operations at construction sites. The bill would prohibit mobile and tower cranes manufactured more than 25 years ago from operating in New York City. Cranes would be removed from service based on the original date of manufacture or based on the age of the crane's oldest component, whichever is greater, the statement said.

In addition, all cranes would require "load cycle counters to record data regarding every lift that a crane performs - which is critical to setting maintenance schedules and overall operability over a crane's service life," it said in the statement.

Joel Dandrea, executive vice president of the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association, said the proposed legislation warrants serious consideration from the crane industry.

"SC&RA will play a key role in gathering member input and making certain our position is appropriately conveyed to New York officials," he said. "We are presently unaware of valid data that suggest cranes over 25 years old are any less safe than newer cranes. From available data, it appears most crane accidents result from operator error and not from structural deficiencies. While safety remains at the very core of SC&RAs mission, we have some concerns if New York goes off in a slightly misguided direction on legislation that may be missing the target, other jurisdictions may follow suit. Also, I would guess the city has cranes more than 25 years old that would have to be taken into consideration.”

The New York City statement also stated: "A strict limit on the service life of cranes will ensure that older models are continually phased out and replaced with the most sophisticated and technologically advanced equipment available. Requiring crane owners to update their crane fleet and make new cranes available will help maintain New York City's position as a worldwide leader in construction.”

Mayor Bloomberg requested the bill following what the mayor's office described as years of research on practices in other jurisdictions and extensive engagement with the City's development and construction stakeholders.

"New York City has some of the toughest crane regulations in the world, and we enforce crane regulations more stringently than anywhere else," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Since 2008, the City has adopted more than 25 new construction safety laws, conducted tougher inspections and raised licensing standards for crane operators. This legislation builds on those efforts by ensuring only state-of-the art, highly reliable equipment is transforming New York City's skyline."

LiMandri said: "Imposing a limit on the age of cranes will bring our policy in line with the reality of advances in safety and technology in the crane industry. As building in New York City continues to accelerate, we must encourage crane manufacturers to supply the construction industry with modernized equipment. In partnership with Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council, we have made impressive gains in increasing the City's oversight of crane operations and demonstrated our commitment to making construction safer for workers and the public."

In addition to improving safety, Mayor Bloomberg said such a law would encourage more investment in the research and design of new crane technologies that further meet New York City's higher safety standards and unique needs.


Source: ACT Magazine, January 2014 Issue

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