The recent deaths of employees during construction projects may cost three New York contractors their special rigger licenses – if the city’s Buildings Department’s prevails in its effort to revoke them.
The special rigger licenses of Wayne Bellet of Bellet Construction and Mohammad Bhutta of Zain Contracting were suspended following the June death of 44-year-old Carlos Olmedo Lala, who plunged from the second level of scaffolding at a Harlem job site. Bellet and Bhutta allegedly failed to secure the proper permits for their setting up the scaffolding.
The city is moving to revoke their special rigger licenses along with that of Wlodzimierz Tomczak, owner of Vlad Construction Ltd. As a licensed special rigger, Tomczak is required to design and oversee the installation of suspended scaffolding. Instead, news reports say he allowed his employees to do it at a Manhattan work site – allegedly using a checklist they found on the internet.
On that project, rigging supporting the scaffolding knocked a coping stone loose. It struck 51-year-old Nelson Salinas, who was on a scaffold, in the head, fatally injuring him.
During an investigation into the incident, Tomczak reportedly failed to produce inspection documentation for the scaffold setup.