Friday, July 30, 2010

W. R. Grace To Pay For Asbestos Cleanup in Easthampton, MA.

Asbestos (tremolite) silky fibres from Val di ...Image via Wikipedia
W.R. Grace and Company leased a facility in Easthampton, Massachusetts where they produced zonolite attic insulation and fireproofing.  This facility received vermiculite that was mined in Libby, MT which is known to be contaminated with tremolite asbestosWR Grace and the owner of the property Oldon Limited Partnership agreed to pay an estimated $833,000 to cleanup the site and reimburse the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for past cleanup costs of $72, 537 as recently reported by Environmental Protection (click on title to see the full article).
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Riggiing Contractor Cleared Of All Charges


Mr. William Rapetti's trial ended on Thursday with a not-guilty verdict by the judge that heard the case.  This ends the first of the construction trials that the construction industry is watching, the other two being the Deutsche Bank Fire and the other crane accident.  Mr. Rapetti and his company Rapetti Rigging Services were acquitted all charges.  Unfortunately, he and his company, along with other companies on the project, the building owner and New York City, still must face several civil lawsuits in regards to the accident.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

NYC DEP Plans Increase In Enforcement On Asbestos Investigators

New York City Department of Environmental Prot...Image via Wikipedia
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) released plans to increase the scrutiny of Certified Asbestos Investigators.  As discussed in the New York Times article linked above, NYCDEP has hired two additional inspection monitors to review the work of the Certified Asbestos Investigators and plans to nearly double the number of office audits it conducts each year, to 75, up from 40; the agency will check the records and activities of nearly 15 percent of the 543 asbestos investigators it certifies, and perform 500 spot-check field inspections.  What caused this increase in oversight of the Certified Asbestos Investigators?  Mr. Saverio Todaro's guilty plea to federal environmental crimes, fraud and making false statements.  In our refresher classes we have discussed Mr. Todaro's case, who operated an environmental inspection and testing company, and acknowledged that he had submitted clean asbestos and lead test results for at least a decade without performing any tests.
Not only has Mr. Todaro's case caused increased scrutiny of Investigators, it also has exposed our industry to reckless statements such as "The city environmental agency regulates private asbestos inspectors, who play an important role in what has long been viewed as one of the more corrupt sectors of the construction industry."  I don't think the New York Times has accurately portrayed our industry.  Our industry like many others has individuals that will do anything for the money.  However, we have many individuals and companies in our industry that do not give into this weakness and perform their jobs in accordance with the regulations.  We provide our clients with an important service and help them protect their properties and the people who use the property.  I am very disappointed with the NY Times, in painting our industry with such a broad brush stroke based on the guilty plea of a few individuals.
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Monday, July 05, 2010

Clearing Pipes With Natural Gas, A Common But Deadly Construction Practice

MIDDLETOWN, CT -  FEBRUARY 7:  An aerial view ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
In Middletown, Connecticut on Febuary 7, 2010 an explosion caused the death of 6 workers building a power plant for Kleen Energy Systems.  The article above discusses the findings of an investigation of the cause of the explosion.  The findings found that a common construction practice of clearing pipes with natural gas was the cause of the explosion.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) investigation is still ongoing.  However, it appears the common practice of clearing pipes with natural gas is also a common cause of explosions at other construction sites.  In two other sites this practice has caused explosions that have killed 4 and 6, previously.  The article implies that this practice is unregulated, which I find hard to believe.  I guess we will find out once OSHA finishes its investigation.

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Friday, July 02, 2010

Doomed Crane Had History of Malfunctions | New York Construction | McGraw-Hill Construction

Tower crane in Germany.Image via Wikipedia
Doomed Crane Had History of Malfunctions New York Construction McGraw-Hill Construction

The manslaughter trial of William Rappetti, master rigger, and his company Rappetti Rigging Services, began this week.  The Manhattan District Attorney maintains that Mr. Rappetti was responsible for the crane accident that happened on March 15, 2008.  While Mr. Rappetti's attorneys are trying to prove the accident was caused by a number of alternative causes.  Click the link above to get an update on the trial.  We will be following this trial and the other manslaughter trial against J. Lomma (see our post "Crane Case Heading to Court") both regarding the crane accidents that happened in 2008.  Depending how these trials turn out, will depend how much of an impact the Manhattan District Attorney's Office will have on the construction industry.
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