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Two construction workers were killed at midday Tuesday in Kew Gardens in a crane accident.
By Gina Martinez

The DOB was investigating the cause of the accident.

“This was a tragic accident – two people will not be going home to see their families tonight,” Chandler said Tuesday. “Today’s accident is a stark reminder of the dangers inherent in construction work. We continue to work every day to encourage the safest practices on sites throughout the city.”

The Weather Service said winds gusted up as high 34 mph Tuesday in unspecified areas of the city.

“We are at the beginning of a multi-agency investigation into the cause of this accident,” Chandler said. “Based upon an immediate assessment of the evidence, it is unlikely that wind played a role in the incident. At this time, it appears that there was likely a rigging failure that resulted in the beam coming loose and falling to the ground. However, we have not made any final determinations.”

The DOB sent out a weather advisory Saturday warning that New York City area might experience wind gusts of up to 50 miles through Monday night. DOB reminded all builders, contractors, crane operators, and property owners to secure their construction sites, buildings, and equipment.

“Winds may reach higher speeds and last longer than forecast in certain areas of the city,” the advisory said. “Property owners must consider the safety of their buildings and construction sites, including cranes, suspended and supported scaffolding, hoists, and any other building appurtenances that may come loose from exposure to high winds. Structures that have been subject to deferred maintenance or are in delicate condition could be at greater risk. The department suggests consulting a professional to advise how to secure construction sites and buildings.”

City Councilmen Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest), chairman of the Courts and Legal Services Committee, and Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn), chairman of the Housing and Buildings Committee, urged the city to monitor construction sites to prevent accidents in a joint statement.

“We would like to offer our prayers of peace and comfort to the families of the workers who died,” they said. “The tragic death of two construction workers at a non-union job site in Queens is a stark reminder of the dangerous conditions that workers face in our city. We cannot take a backseat role when it comes to the safety of our workers, especially during windy conditions like those today. What’s most alarming is that a recent Crain’s report showed a third of construction deaths last year were uncounted by the administration.”

The two Council members went on to say, “The city must stay vigilant in preventing fatalities as well as monitoring sites — especially after a tragedy — so it can examine how to remedy safety breakdowns on that location and other sites. We cannot ignore safety just so we can keep up with the construction boom taking place in the city. While the city has made real efforts to improve safety on job sites, this tragic accident is evidence that much more needs to be done as soon as possible. We owe it to the workers.”

Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmartinez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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