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Crane Kills NYC Construction Boss

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

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NEW YORK CITY—A crane's malfunctioning hydraulic system is being blamed in the death of a construction company owner, who was pinned under the equipment on a work site in Manhattan, officials say.

Trevor Loftus, 40, of Yonkers was the owner and crane safety supervisor of Kenry Construction, the namesake of his hometown of Pallaskenry, in County Limerick, Ireland.

Loftus was using a flatbed-mounted crane called a knuckle boom to move materials at the hotel construction site when the boom's hydraulic system began leaking, fire and police officials said.

Trevor Loftus

Ireland-born Trevor Loftus "went to New York with nothing and worked his way up. He was a very hard-working young fella," a friend said.

“He went to check on it, and he basically got crushed,” a police spokeswoman told The New York Times.

FDNY Deputy Chief Joseph Carlsen made the same statement to reporters: "The hydraulics malfunctioned, and the victim was caught between the knuckle boom and the flatbed itself."

The truck was owned by Kerry Contracting Inc. of New York; the hotel project's general contractor is Flintlock Construction Services of New York. Both companies have declined to comment.

'We Are All Devastated'

Loftus was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after the accident, which occurred about 11:45 a.m. Friday (April 24) in front of horrified fellow workers.

“Everybody went crazy,” Miguel Sarmiento, an employee at a nearby parking garage, told The New York Daily News. “The working guys — they were trying to help him.”

Reports said the married father of two young daughters was a familiar sight on the project and well liked by those who knew him.

NBC / 4 New York

FDNY Deputy Chief Joseph Carlsen said Loftus had gone to check on the malfunctioning knuckle boom and got pinned between the boom and the flatbed on which it was mounted.

“It’s terrible,” said Loftus's landlord, Sal Ferrara. “He was just the nicest person and a great tenant. He was a hardworking man. He’d leave early in the morning.”

Mark Russell, a 10-year employee of Loftus, told, "We are all devastated. He was a family man, happily married, he had two young kids."

DJ Daly, president of the Pallaskenry GAA soccer club, told the Irish Times that Loftus "went to New York with nothing and worked his way up. He was a very hard-working young fella."

Investigation Underway

Details about the equipment involved were not immediately available, and the case remains under investigation by local authorities and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

A stop-work order was issued on the project, which is now at 23 stories and is scheduled for 36 floors.

The Department of Buildings "had issued two partial stop-work orders and received a series of complaints" about the hotel site before the accident, dnainfo reported, citing department records.

One complaint, lodged March 16, alleged endangering of workers and working after hours; the city dismissed the complaint, the report said.

NBC / 4 New York

The hotel project, in midtown Manhattan, has been the subject of complaints and partial stop-work orders, reports said. Another stop-work order was issued after Friday's accident.

New York City does not regulate or inspect knuckle booms like larger cranes, Buildings Department spokesman Alexander Schnell told the Daily News.

Safety and Work Records

Loftus's company was issued a work permit for the site on April 3.

Kenry Construction, of Yonkers, has a record with OSHA.

The agency cited the contractor on Dec. 11, 2014, for one serious and two repeat violations. The repeat citations alleged fall-protection and training hazards; the serious citation also involved fall protection. Fines initally totaled $24,500 and have been tentatively reduced to $17,000, although the case remains open.

In March 2011, OSHA issued three serious citations for wiring, fall protection and training. The initial $10,200 fine was reduced to $4,680 in a formal settlement.


Tagged categories: Access; Commercial contractors; Cranes; Fatalities; Good Technical Practice; Hotels; North America; OSHA

Comment from peter gibson, (4/28/2015, 11:27 AM)

What a dumb staement..does not inspect knuckle booms. Where is the manpower to do that. the OSHA history has nothing to do with this case. Why mention it!!! Please people jack up the reporting.

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (4/29/2015, 8:30 AM)

When there is a reported workplace injury or death, I find it very appropriate to also report prior safety incidents or infractions by the company.

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