Sunday, June 1, 2008



City officials are gambling with safety by failing to hire experienced crane inspectors, put them through rigorous training - or even fill empty positions, city leaders and experts said yesterday.

The city's crane team now has only five specialists - three fewer than it should have and less than the six it had on March 15, when seven people died in the East 51st Street crane tragedy, a union insider told The Post.

Of the five, one is a supervisor who does not carry out inspections. Another has been on the job for only four weeks, the insider said.

But instead of recruiting new experts, the Department of Buildings is swelling the crane team's ranks with a special operations team of six workers and four private engineers - all of whom help, but are not qualified to carry out the actual inspections, the source said.

The city is struggling to fill the positions, mainly because the job comes with relatively low pay - an average of about $55,000, experts said.

"Who would work for that when they can make $160,000 a year actually operating a crane?" said one operator yesterday.

The DOB did not return calls for comment.

A job-vacancy notice for a crane inspector posted on the DOB Web site said applicants need a minimum of three years as a rigging apprentice and two years of studying civil or mechanical engineering.

Patrick McGarrigle, the DOB crane inspector who was at the East 91st Street crane site just a week before the deadly collapse to investigate a complaint that a crane was hoisting loads above workers' heads - and found nothing - has never operated the tower cranes he inspects.

He was licensed to operate smaller, cherry-picker-type cranes, with his permit expiring in 1994, according to DOB records.


  1. This Crane Accident Absolutely Was Uncalled For,

    A Fucking Smame, Shame, Shame...

  2. Pay these NYC DOB inspectors a trades journyman wage. And don't make them jump threw hoops to get the job. I know guys trying to get jobs because they are older guys and the city investigations dept takes months to pass them thru.
    It is lot cheaper to have a well paid inspector then all those cops and fireman in the street picking up the pieces after the fact.
    Work safe and slow down.


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