Rigger's licences revoked in NYC

27 July 2011

William Rapetti, the rigger responsible for erecting a tower crane that collapsed in March 2008, has had his tower crane licences revoked in New York, USA.

Rapetti's tower crane rigger licence and his Class B Hoist Machine Operator licence were revoked on 18 July 2011 following a proceeding at the City's Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. Rapetti was the licensed tower crane rigger responsible for erecting a tower crane at 303 E. 51st St. in Manhattan when it collapsed on 15 March 2008, leading to the deaths of seven people.

The licences are issued by the Department of Buildings, and the revocation immediately prohibits Rapetti from overseeing the erection and/or dismantling of any crane or operating any crane in the City.

The news was announced on behalf of the NYC Department of Buildings by buildings commissioner Robert LiMandri and Department of Investigation commissioner Rose Gill Hearn. The revocation follows a 28-page report and recommendation by Administrative Law Judge John Spooner.

According to his report and recommendation, Judge Spooner found that Rapetti, owner of Rapetti Rigging Services, Inc., violated local and federal laws and professional standards. The judge determined that Rapetti was using a damaged sling to support the 11,200-pound steel collar on the 18th floor, which fell and struck other collars tied to the building at the 9th and 3rd floors.

The judge found that Rapetti failed to follow the manufacturer's specifications by using four polyester slings instead of eight to support the steel collar and by attaching the slings at the corners instead of the middle. Judge Spooner also found that Rapetti failed to pad or soften the slings against sharp edges. Spooner found that Rapetti endangered the public and his failures led to the collapse of the 18-storey tower crane.

"This tragic incident has impacted so many lives throughout the City and is a grave reminder of the importance of taking the proper safety precautions on every construction site," said LiMandri. "We have determined that Mr. Rapetti took shortcuts while erecting the tower crane by using damaged equipment and failing to follow the manufacturer's specific instructions. Those shortcuts sacrificed the safety of the job site and led to horrific consequences. Therefore, in order to protect the safety of the City and its people, I believe it is necessary and justified to revoke his licences."

In January 2009 Rapetti agreed to a suspension of his tower crane rigger and crane operator licences pending the outcome of the criminal charges filed against him and his company.

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