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Deadly crane accident should concern New Yorkers

A recent deadly crane accident should serve as a warning to New York construction workers and their employers about how important it is to stay safe around these devices.

In another major city in the country, a crane that was assisting with the construction of a major corporate building suddenly collapsed, falling down to the intersection below.

Two workers who were on the crane at the time of the accident died, as did two people in vehicles into which the crane smashed. Other people suffered injuries. The crane itself split in two, and part of it seriously damaged the building under construction.

While the cause of the collapse will likely be under investigation for several months, early reports were that the crane was being taken apart when high winds moved in to the area.

There are in fact a number of hazards which can lead to serious crane accidents. The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA, has identified several common causes of accidents and injuries related to cranes. In almost half of all cases, a crane accident was related to contact with live electrical wires, which can cause severe shock or electrocution.

Employers and others in charge of construction sites have an obligation to ensure that if they are going to use a crane, it is safe both for workers and for the general public. OSHA even has set out specific safety regulations with respect to cranes.

This sad story should concern all New Yorkers, as it illustrates the ongoing danger that cranes at construction sites present. In particular, workers should remember that it is ultimately their employers' responsibility to make sure that cranes are structurally sound and otherwise safe. They must also ensure workers have proper training so as to avoid injuries. Those workers in the New City area and surrounding communities who get hurt in a crane accident may be able to get workers' compensation benefits.

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