Mayor Bloomberg launches a package of tough legislation as crane inspector is arrested

The mayor of New York has unveiled a package of construction safety laws in an attempt to halt a spate of site accidents that have killed 15 people in six months.

The moves, launched last week by Michael Bloomberg, the city’s mayor, come a fortnight after a crane collapse left two workers dead.

The legislative package, which has been backed by contractors and trade bodies, will force main contractors to hold a safety meeting before any crane is erected, jumped or dismantled. It will also mandate more training for crane operators and riggers, including a 30-hour safety course and eight-hour refresher courses every three years.

Builders will also be required to register for a safety control number before being given a building permit, and to introduce specialist site safety managers for the concrete and demolition sectors.

Bloomberg said: “Building for the future and building safely are not mutually exclusive – but public safety is our top priority.”

The laws were backed by New York’s Building Trades Employers’ Association, whose chairman is James Abadie, principal of Bovis Lend Lease’s New York office. A spokesperson said: “The package announced today will help strengthen site safety on projects of all sizes.”

Meanwhile, it has emerged that James Delayo, assistant chief inspector of cranes in New York, has been arrested after being accused of taking money to falsify crane inspections and operator certificates. The 60 year old had worked for the city’s Buildings Department since 1982. He is accused of signing off crane inspections he did not carry out and helping crane operators cheat in licensing exams. His arrest occurred before the most recent collapse.