Two men have been charged with two counts of assault in the second degree by New York City authorities following an investigation into a mini crane accident that injured two ironworkers in June 2018. The incident occurred at the Gotham Residential Project, located between Lexington and Third Avenues from East 125th to East 126th Streets. A Jekko mini crane fell several stories during a curtainwall installation. Terrence Edwards, 39, and Timothy Braico, 41, now face criminal charges.

Blumenfeld Development Group, the owner of the building, hired ZDG LLC as construction manager in 2016. ZDG hired Western Waterproofing Company Inc. as subcontractor to install the building façade, which includes a checkerboard curtainwall with alternating glazed windows and blackened stainless steel panels on the north side of the building, according to a release from the Manhattan district attorney.

The release alleges that Braico, the senior branch manager of Western’s Ridgefield, N.J., branch, ordered a mini crane to be delivered to the Harlem site on June 15, 2018. This was done even though none of the workers on site were trained to operate the crane and permission had not been obtained from the city.

On June 25, 2018, the city alleges that Edwards, the site superintendent, directed an ironworker to hoist glass panels from the second floor up onto the fourth floor where the crane was located. The operator was not trained to use the mini crane and, as a result, did not understand its load capacity and was not told to tether the mini crane.

According to the release, Edwards directed Christopher Jackson and Jorge Delgado, both members of Ironworkers Local 580, to guide the glass lites into place from the floor below the crane as the crane operator hoisted them up to the fourth floor. While lifting a heavy glass lite, the mini crane lurched forward and capsized before falling four stories to the ground. The crane’s boom knocked into Jackson on the third floor as it fell, breaking his harness and catapulting him to the ground.

“Jackson suffered severe trauma to his head, resulting in a traumatic brain injury which has affected his ability to speak and to walk. Delgado was struck in the back, and suffered severe spinal injuries impairing his ability to walk and move,” reads the release.

Western, a union contractor based in St. Louis, cooperated in the investigation and entered into a deferred prosecution agreement. According to the release, the company agreed to retain an independent monitor, enhance safety training for its workers and fund public service announcements in English and Spanish to educate workers around New York about their right to a safe workplace.

“As alleged in this case, these defendants knowingly skirted [New York City Department of Buildings (DOB)] safety protocols to speed up their project, resulting in devastating, life-changing injuries for two workers when a mini crane fell from the fourth floor, catapulting one as it hurtled to the ground,” says Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. “As the use of these remotely operated, lightweight cranes continues to grow, contractors must ensure their workers are trained and their plans are DOB-approved, and always make sure these dangerous pieces of equipment are securely tethered. Those who fail to follow building regulations and recklessly kill or maim their workers will be criminally prosecuted.”

Braico and Edwards both face two counts of reckless endangerment in the second degree on top of the assault charges.