Construction is dangerous work. Injuries can happen in so many different ways. Falls from scaffolding, defective tools and accidents involving vehicles are only some of them.
But precisely because construction sites are dangerous is why taking shortcuts cannot be tolerated. This is especially so when a construction site injury results not only in a need for workers’ compensation, but in untimely death.
William Rapetti, the crane rigger who was involved in a fatal construction collapse in New York four years ago, is still finding this out.
Rapetti faced criminal charges after seven people died in a construction accident in Midtown in 2008. He was accused of contributing to the causation of the fatal accident by taking risky shortcuts, using faulty equipment and not following safety instructions.
Although Rapetti was acquitted of the criminal charges, the Department of Buildings still took away his crane operator license in July 2011. He then brought suit trying to get his license back.
This week, however, the Manhattan Civil Supreme Court dismissed his case. The judge found that Rapetti had not filed his paperwork in a timely manner. The appeal deadline was November 18, 2011, but Rapetti did not file until January.
Rapetti had wanted to argue that the hearing officer for the Department of Buildings had failed to properly consider other causes for the crane collapse. At issue, in particular, was the DOB’s earlier decision to allow a new system to be used for anchoring cranes.
The new system involved the use of two steel beams straddling a vault made of concrete.
Source: “Crane rigger involved in midtown construction collapse that killed 7 won’t get license back,” Barbara Ross, New York Daily News, 5-21-12