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OSHA, Contractor Dispute Wire Rope Inspections Prior to Mishap

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Federal safety officials cited Yonkers Contracting Co. and a subcontractor in connection with a crane accident last April that killed a 30-year-old laborer at a Manhattan subway jobsite. The firms face proposed fines totaling $75,000.

In the accident, a snapped wire rope cable dropped a boom on Michael Simermeyer, who died of his injuries.

Most of the possible fine is against Yonkers Contracting Co., based in Yonkers, N.Y. The sub, J&E Industries, Rockaway, N.J., faces a $7,000 fine for a serious violation in allegedly failing to train a rigger.

According to industry sources familiar with the project, the Manitowoc 4100 crawler crane – owned by Yonkers Contracting – was in the process of setting rebar cages for the next day’s crew when the boom snapped.

New York City officials said most of the crane’s 170-ft lattice boom fell to the ground in two pieces, one measuring 80 ft, the other 40 ft.

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration claimed that Yonkers Contracting failed to make required checks of wire ropes used to hoist materials, including the boom hoist that collapsed and killed Simermeyer.

In addition, OSHA cited Yonkers Contracting for allowing Simermeyer inside the crane’s fall zone, for failing to ensure that a rigger was properly trained and for failing to conduct required annual functional testing of the hoist.

Kay Gee, OSHA’s area director in New York, says that “had the proper procedures been followed, this incident and this worker’s death could have been prevented.”

Separately, OSHA also cited Yonkers Contracting for 10 serious violations covering fall hazards related to an unguarded open-side work area, impalement hazards from unguarded rebar and for the lack of annual hoist testing.

Yonkers Contracting strongly disagreed with OSHA’s findings, saying the wire rope had been inspected, but the company stopped short of offering an alternative version of why the crane boom fell or what had happened to the wire rope.


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