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Construction & Design

DOB moves to ban rigger following latest death of a construction worker

The Department of Buildings announced that the agency has filed formal court proceedings to revoke the Special Rigger license of an individual whose alleged negligence led to a construction fatality on April 8 at 311 East 50th Street in Manhattan.

DOB investigators allege that Special Rigger Wlodzimierz Tomczak did not take proper precautions at the façade restoration project at 311 East 50th Street, where a coping stone was dislodged from the top of the building and fatally struck a worker who was working on a suspended scaffold below.

The fallen coping stone had been used as one of the anchor points for a set of C-hook devices which were being used to affix the suspended scaffold to the building, and it is alleged that Tomczak failed to properly ensure that the C-hook and scaffold were properly installed and maintained.

During the Department’s investigation into the fatal incident, Tomczak failed to produce multiple inspection records to the Department related to the scaffold setup and C-hooks for this job.

It is alleged that, rather than properly designing and inspecting the installation of the suspended scaffold himself, as was required of him as the licensed Special Rigger, the respondent allowed his employees to determine the setup of the scaffold which they completed improperly and in an unsafe manner.

It is also alleged that the respondent’s employees performed inspections of the scaffold themselves using a checklist they found on the internet, and that Tomczak failed to visit the work site to properly inspect and approve the rigging equipment setup prior to the commencement of work.

The case comes just one week after the DOB suspended the Special Rigger Licenses of two individuals whose alleged negligence led to a construction fatality on June 22, 2019 at 880 St. Nicholas Avenue in Manhattan.

The suspensions of Wayne Bellet of Bellet Construction Co., Inc. and Mohammad Bhutta of Zain Contracting, Inc. came ahead of a hearing where the agency will pursue the full revocation of the two’s licenses.

“DOB’s licensees are in a safety-sensitive profession where cutting corners, ignoring rules, and exercising bad judgment can lead to catastrophe,” said the DOB in a statement.

“Licensees must closely adhere to all applicable rules and regulations for the safety of all New Yorkers.”

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