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OSHA Issues Tappan Zee Crane Collapse Fine

Friday, February 3, 2017

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Federal workplace safety regulators say a corroded clamp on a vibratory hammer played a role in July's crane collapse on the massive Tappan Zee Bridge project in New York, and project contractors faces more than $12,000 in proposed fines in response to the incident.

The crane, manufactured by Manitowoc, fell from the new, under-construction bridge across the existing bridge's seven lanes, causing several injuries and closing the bridge to traffic for hours on July 19, 2016. In a single "serious" citation issued Jan. 18 to Tappan Zee Constructors LLC, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said that a number of issues surrounding vibrating hammers being used on a partially driven pile played a role in the incident.

Root Cause

A clamp on a vibratory hammer was corroded and had no jawed teeth, the citation says, and the hammer released from the partially driven pile that it was repositioning. The crane being used did not have the necessary capacity, and after the hammer broke loose, the crane's mast failed, leading to a breakup of the crane's boom. Hydraulic hoses on the hammer were also leaky, according to OSHA.

Tappan Zee Bridge stay cables
New York State Thruway

As of Jan. 20, more than 85 of the 192 stay cables that will support the main span had been installed.

The agency proposed fines of $12,675. After fines are proposed, a company has an opportunity to request an informal conference with OSHA officials or contest the fines.

Online news source Lohud reports that a representative of Tappan Zee Constructors said the company would follow "their process allowing for additional review."

About the Project

The Tappan Zee project looks to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge, a cantilever bridge opened in 1955, with a new span, officially known as the New NY Bridge, but known colloquially as the New Tappan Zee.

The nearly $4 billion New NY Bridge will be a 3.1-mile twin span cable-stayed bridge with angled main span towers. It is said to be the single largest bridge construction project in New York’s history. The project is slated for completion in 2018.

In a December 2016 status report, the New York State Thruway project director said the project was on budget and on schedule. The eight 400-foot towers that will be the structure's trademark are complete, and as of Jan. 20, more than 85 of the 192 stay cables that will support the main span had been installed.

Project Safety Record

Despite the high-profile nature of the crane incident, the New Tappan Zee project has been recognized for its overall safety. In May 2016, Tappan Zee Constructors reported a total recordable incident rate of just 0.63 percent per 100 employees, more than five times lower than the national average.



Tagged categories: Bridges; Citations; Cranes; Health & Safety; Health and safety; North America; OSHA; Safety; Violations

Comment from Thomas Van Hooser, (2/4/2017, 10:57 AM)

it is very clear that accidents such as this result from the absence of viable inspection practices and lack of competence from the organization executing the lift as well as the Project owners for lack of oversight. Another example of lack of safety from Client and Contractor Management from planning through execution.

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