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Cranes collapsed as storm raged: are new regs needed?

Images of raging winds and torrential rain filled the news in recent days as we in New York City watched Hurricane Irma pummel Florida. One of the videos that made an especially strong impression was from Miami, where a construction crane spun out of control atop a high-rise.

News reports indicated that two cranes collapsed in Miami, sending debris onto the empty streets below. A crane in nearby Fort Lauderdale also reportedly collapsed during the ferocious storm. For those in the construction industry, the reports were reminders of the several deadly New York City crane collapses in recent years. 

In South Florida, developers and contractors rushed to say the cranes had been secured, though the collapses provide evidence aplenty that whatever had been done before the storm was not enough. Fortunately, no one was injured in the collapses that took place during Irma's rage.

Enforcing critical safety rules
According to Miami's city attorney, Florida law prevents cities from enforcing regulations on cranes. So the city simply enforces federal statutes. Our readers will undoubtedly recall that New York City tightened regulations after last year's Manhattan crane collapse in which one person was killed and three others injured. In the TriBeCa tragedy, a 565-foot crawler crane crashed across two city blocks. 

But developers and contractors in Florida are dismissing all calls for stricter safety regulations there. A Miami newspaper quoted one developer who said, "we have no evidence that the cranes failed to meet their expected wind capacity." Many people would point to the collapsed cranes as all the evidence needed.

Workers and bystanders injured in New York City construction site accidents have the right to pursue compensation for all damages with the help of a qualified attorney.

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