3 Contractors Connected with Fatal NY Crane Collapse Fined $313,500

OSHA issued citations to three contractors with proposed penalties totaling $313,500 for alleged violations of safety standards after investigating the March 15 collapse of a tower crane in midtown Manhattan that killed seven people. OSHA's Manhattan Area Director Richard Mendelson said, "Ultimately, the crane collapse was a failure to follow basic, but essential, construction safety processes."

Cited were Rapetti Rigging Services Inc., the crane's erector; Reliance Construction Group, the project's general contractor; and Joy Contractors Inc., the project's concrete and superstructure contractor. Rapetti was cited for alleged problems associated with rigging the crane and lack of fall protection, while Reliance and Joy were cited for lack of fall protection, fire protection, and other hazards unrelated to the crane collapse.

"This case illustrates in stark terms that failure to follow required procedures can have wide-ranging and catastrophic consequences," said OSHA chief Edwin G. Foulke Jr.

Rapetti Rigging has been issued three willful citations with penalties totaling $210,000 for allegedly failing, among other things, to comply with the crane manufacturer's specifications and limitations when erecting and raising the tower crane, to protect synthetic rigging slings from damage, to inspect the slings for damage or defects before use, and to remove a defective sling from service. The company also has been issued five serious citations, with $10,000 in proposed fines for fall hazards. Employees working on the crane's mast and at the edge of the 18th floor level and other areas lacked proper fall protection. Penalties proposed against Rapetti total $220,000.

Joy Contractors has been issued one repeat and 14 serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $74,000. The repeat citation alleges the lack of fall protection for employees working 180 feet above the ground. OSHA cited Joy in March 2007 for a similar hazard at a Mt. Pleasant, N.Y., worksite. The serious citations allege failure to train employees in jobsite hazards, unsafe work area debris, fire hazards, fall hazards, unsafe material storage, and hazards created by the eccentric loading of concrete shoring and formwork.

Reliance Construction Group has been issued 11 serious citations with a total of $19,500 in proposed penalties. The citations allege failure to train employees in jobsite hazards, unsafe work area debris, fire hazards, fall hazards, and hazards created by the eccentric loading of concrete shoring and formwork.

This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office for the collapse that took place at 303 E. 51st St. The agency's inspection of the May 30 crane collapse at 91st Street and First Avenue in New York City is ongoing.

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