Recent tragedies in Florida and New York involving high-rise construction cranes have once again put a national spotlight on industrial safety.

A 20-foot section of a construction crane fell 30 floors in Miami Tuesday, smashing into a home below and killing two people. The accident occurred ten days after a crane collapsed in New York City, killing seven people. New York City is re-inspecting high-rise cranes following the deadly incident.

Laing O’Rourke, the largest privately owned construction firm in the United Kingdom, provides some basic points to consider when it comes to safe crane operations:

• Erecting a tower crane is a potentially hazardous operation, and any site activities that could impinge on the operation must be suspended while it is done.

• As an additional precaution, an exclusion zone must be established around the operational area.

• Procedures must conform to the manufacturer's instructions and to the method statement both supplied by the erection supervisor and approved by the project manager.

• The tower crane must be satisfactorily tested. If the crane is to be subsequently climbed and tied (connected) to the structure, a further test will be required each time before the crane is returned to service.

• If the tower crane is from an external supplier, the inspection and testing department must be given due notification. An examination must be made before the tower crane is delivered to site, and the test of the installed crane must be witnessed.

Since the crane collapse on the east side of Manhattan, city officials have increased safety and inspection requirements. The Buildings Department said a city inspector will now have to be present every time a crane is erected, jumped or dismantled. It will require the project engineer who submitted the original permit application for a crane to produce a “written protocol” for each jump, including guidelines for how the work should be done. The engineer will have to inspect the crane to certify that it was built and assembled according to plans. The city has already shut down several cranes for violations.