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[IMGCAP(1)]NEW YORK CITY-A Department of Buildings report issued Wednesday blames sling misuse and other rigging errors for the East Side tower crane collapse that killed seven people in March 2008. Issued a month after buildings commissioner Robert LiMandri outlined 41 recommendations to improve construction site safety, the report will be followed by a series of meetings with the construction industry.

The report says that an investigation by Arup & Partners Consulting Engineers found that DOB crane inspection and permitting protocols would not have identified the rigging errors that caused the collapse at 303 E. 51st St. Those errors included the use of four synthetic slings instead of the eight chain blocks specified by the manufacturer to support an 11,279-lb. steel collar, prior physical damage on one of the slings, improper attachment of the slings and a lack of padding for the slings.

Arup’s investigation concluded that the tower crane installation design met industry standards and was not a cause of the crane collapse, which occurred after the crew had “jumped” the crane, or extended its height. “The collapse of the tower was initiated when the polyester web slings supporting a steel collar at the 18th floor level failed, allowing the collar to fall,” according to the DOB report.

A stop work order remains in effect at the construction site. The project to construct a 43-story apartment tower had its building permit revoked after the March 15, ’08 crane collapse, which killed six construction workers and one civilian, demolished a nearby brownstone and damaged more than a dozen buildings.

In a statement, LiMandri says crane assembly is “a highly technical activity that requires great skill and adherence to the crane manufacturer’s instructions. Deviation from those instructions can have catastrophic results. This investigation shows the consequences of taking shortcuts on the job site.” He adds that DOB will convene a series of meetings with the construction industry “to review the report’s findings and identify ways to prevent tragedies like this from happening again.”

[IMGCAP(2)]A DOB spokesman did not respond by deadline to GlobeSt.com inquiries for further details about the meetings and whether they may lead to additional regulations. Since the March ’08 collapse, which led to the resignation of then-commissioner Patricia Lancaster and was followed 10 weeks later by another fatal accident at an Upper East Side construction site, the Bloomberg administration has enacted a dozen laws intended to increase construction safety and regulatory oversight. The last two of the 12 laws were approved by the City Council in late January.

Earlier that month, Manhattan district attorney Robert Morgenthau filed charges against the crane rigger and his company. The indictment against William Rapetti and Rapetti Rigging Services includes multiple charges of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, assault, reckless endangerment and failure to file tax returns. Rapetti’s attorney, Arthur Aidala of Aidala & Bertuna, told GlobeSt.com in January that his client was “determined to help clear his name and demonstrate that he and his company operated and supervised the site in a manner beyond reproach.”

In recent weeks, DOB inspectors performed inspections of all tower cranes undergoing jumps. The inspectors found that all 18 were in compliance with new crane safety laws enacted since the March ’08 collapse, according to a release.

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