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Work Halted At Three Construction Sites After Cranes Fail Inspection

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TWC News: Work Halted At Three Construction Sites After Cranes Fail Inspection
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Three of the nine tower cranes re-examined in the wake of this month's deadly crane collapse in Manhattan have failed inspection and have been shut down.

According to the Department of Buildings, a crane at the Trump SoHo condo hotel on Spring Street was shut down after inspectors found small cracks in a slab attaching the crane to the building. The crane's beacon light was also not working.

Some local residents said they were not surprised the crane failed inspection.

"Some people are not doing their jobs," said an area resident. "Somebody has to look over it, somebody has to do something. I'm afraid to walk by."

"They should review the inspectors or they should train them better," said another. "They should have inspectors inspecting inspectors."

"I try to go through here as fast as possible, very unsafe," said a third. "This was a disaster waiting to happen."

Another crane at the new Goldman Sachs headquarters on Murray Street was shut down because the name of the person operating the crane was different from the name on the permit.

Both sites have had serious accidents in the past few months. In January, a worker at the Trump SoHo was killed after falling while pouring concrete. And in December, an architect was severely injured after tons of steel fell from a crane at the Goldman Sachs site.

A third crane on Washington Street near the World Trade Center site was shut down because an I-beam was missing a pin.

All sites have been issued stop-work orders.

The inspections follow a crackdown implemented after the deadly crane collapse in Turtle Bay a week and a half ago, which left seven people dead and destroyed a four-story townhouse.

The crackdown calls for an inspector to now be present when a crane is being raised or lowered. Engineers responsible for designing the cranes must also be on site.

"To hire more people to watch over people, I don't think is a solution," said Edward Malloy of the Building and Construction Trades Council. "I think the people who know the industry should sit down. They should come up with the solutions to what the problems are.

Malloy is the head of a union representing construction workers. He says it's already implemented its own safeguards since the Turtle Bay crane collapse, which included an immediate inspection of all cranes, as well as hiring an independent safety consultant to review plans and procedures at work sites. Malloy says he believes the public is safe.

As for the changes being implemented by DOB, he says his organization is taking a wait-and-see approach.

"If there has to be new regulations, not over-regulations, I think that should be done," said Malloy. "But there should be no rush to judgment."

The city is still in the process of inspecting all the approximately 220 cranes in the city, of which 30 are tower cranes. Officials say they plan to have them all checked out by April 15.
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