Department fines crane operator in LIC collapse

The Department of Buildings issued 12 violations in a January crane collapse in Long Island City. Photo by Christina Santucci
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The city Department of Buildings issued $132,800 in fines last week to the operator, site safety manager and property owner in a January Long Island City crane collapse.

“Cranes are complex pieces of equipment that serve as the driving force of any major construction project,” DOB Commissioner Robert LiMandri said in a statement. “They must be properly operated and maintained, and when that fails to occur, there can be serious consequenc­es.”

The accident, which left seven workers injured, occurred Jan. 9 at a construction site at 46-10 Center Blvd. behind Long Island City’s iconic Pepsi-Cola sign. The DOB later said it discovered through a preliminary investigation that the crane operator, Paul Greer, had tried to lift 23,900 pounds with the 15-foot mobile boom crane, which is more than double its weight capacity.

The DOB issued a stop-work order for the site last month and suspended Greer’s Hoist Machine Operator Class B license.

The construction was for the East Coast Long Island City complex, a luxury residential development by TF Cornerstone.

In the violations issued last week, Greer and the licensed operator for the crane — Cross Country Construction LLC, of Elmsford, N.Y. — were cited for five of the DOB’s Environmental Control Board violations. These included operating a crane unsafely, not inspecting the equipment, failing to conform the work to the approved construction documents, not keeping all people and property safe during construction and not posting a proper load chart for the boom crane, the DOB said.

These five violations accounted for $64,000 of the $132,800 in penalties issued as a result of the collapse.

TF Cornerstone and Arthur Covelli, the site safety manager, and TF Cornerstone also each received an Environmental Control Board violation for not safeguarding all people and property during the operations.

“In this case, neither the crane operator nor his supervisors made sure the operation was being performed according to approved plans,” LiMandri said.

The Maspeth-based New York Crane & Equipment Co., owned by James Lomma, leased the crane to Cross Country. Lomma had been charged with manslaughter after a 2008 crane collapse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side but was acquitted of the charges in 2012.

Neither he or his company was issued violations in the Long Island City crane collapse.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Posted 8:48 pm, February 7, 2013
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Reader feedback

2sleepy4u from Rochester, NY says:
The details about this accident makes no sense. I am looking at several hundred feet of "lattice" crane boom sections from probably a 200 ton or larger friction crane laid out across the building. But the article says "the crane operator, X, had tried to lift 23,900 pounds with the 15-foot mobile boom crane, which is more than double its weight capacity." Journalist really crack me up when they start talking facts about cranes. I am really surprised the author did not call the crane a backhoe. I have almost forty years experience in the business as a crane service owner/operator. A "15-foot mobile crane boom"? Get the facts right please.
Feb. 12, 2013, 4:56 pm

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