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Queens Chronicle

Crane operator faces thousands in fines

Machinery fell in LIC on Jan. 9

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Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:27 am, Thu Feb 14, 2013.

The Department of Buildings handed TF Cornerstone, crane operator Paul Greer and Cross Country Construction 12 fines adding up to at least $132,800 for the Jan. 9 crane collapse in Long Island City stating that the operator and Cross Country failed to inspect the machinery prior to the incident.

The equipment plummeted 300 feet and injured seven workers at 46-10 Center Blvd., where site owner TF Cornerstone is developing a 23-story residential building.

The DOB issued a partial stop-work order on the day of the incident.

Greer’s operator’s license was suspended after investigations showed he attempted to lift a load more than double the capacity of the crane, officials said. He has now been slapped with five fines for his alleged unsafe handling of the crane, which could add up to at least $64,000.

Site Safety Manager Arthur Covelli was issued one fine. Another one went to TF Cornerstone for failing to safeguard all construction workers on the site. TF Cornerstone and Covelli’s fines total to $2,400.

Last October the developer was issued the same violation, but the charges were resolved without any payment, according to public DOB data.

The lift belonged to New York Crane, the owner of the crane that collapsed in Manhattan in 2008, killing two people.

Since that accident the department has implemented 25 safety laws that make licensing and testing more strenuous for crane operators, according to the DOB.

“Cranes are complex pieces of equipment that serve as the driving force of any major construction project,” Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said. “In this case, neither the crane operator nor his supervisors made sure the operation was being performed according to approved plans.”

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