New York City Department of Buildings

Oversight of Permits for Cranes, Derricks and Suspended Scaffolds

The New York City Department of Buildings regulates the work of the building industry in New York City. As part of this regulation, the Department issues and monitors permits for cranes, derricks and suspended scaffolds. We examined the Departmentís oversight of building activities involving these types of equipment and found that improvements were needed. For example, there was no valid permit on record for 43 of the 144 cranes, derricks and suspended scaffolds that we observed in use throughout New York City. As a result, there was no assurance that the equipment met safety and insurance requirements. Department inspectors followed up on our findings and found conditions of sufficient concern in eight instances to issue stop-work orders. We later determined that four of these eight sites continued to operate their equipment despite the orders. We noted that the Department did not routinely follow up on such orders to ensure that unsafe conditions had been corrected before work resumed. We also found that required fines were not always assessed for safety violations, because the inspectorsí citations were not always recorded on the Departmentís information system.

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