Following dramatic crane failures elsewhere that have resulted in 11 deaths, Mayor Nutter yesterday signed one of the toughest crane-safety laws in the country.
The signing ceremony was conducted on the roof of 10 Rittenhouse yesterday morning, 34 floors above the street, while two cranes helped put finishing touches on the exterior of the new luxury condo on Rittenhouse Square.
"I am proud that Philadelphia is leading the way in construction-site safety," Nutter said.
The bill, drafted by Councilman James F. Kenney, establishes stiff certification requirements for crane operators, riggers, and inspectors as well as codifying standards for equipment and bonding for crane companies.
"The additional safeguards in certification and inspection will enhance Philadelphia's solid track record in tower-crane operation, which translates into greater safety in and around construction sites," Kenney said.
Kenney proposed the legislation after three deadly crane accidents earlier this year, two in New York and one in Miami. Kenney said the law was a group effort between unions, government officials and developers that resulted in the most comprehensive law in the country.
Walter Palmer 3d, president and chief executive officer of the General Building Contractors Association, said the organization "is pleased with how quickly representatives from the city and the construction industry came together to enact meaningful reform."
Chris Williams, director of safety for Associated Builders and Contractors Inc., a national trade organization, said the new bill contained far-reaching language, but certification requirements would have to balance classroom work with actual experience operating the large cranes.
"Certification can be a good thing, but we need to make sure that this rigger, this crane operator knows what they're doing before we put them out there," Williams said.