DOB blames crane operator for fatal
Staten Island accident

Agency suspended his license and filed charges
By Kathryn Brenzel | May 24, 2017 10:30AM

(Credit: Getty Images)

The city blames a crane operator for an accident in March that killed a 54-year-old construction worker in Staten Island.

Joseph Volpe, who’s worked as a master rigger since 1997, allegedly misjudged the crane’s load, failed to notify the Department of Buildings of the accident and left the scene, city officials confirmed on Tuesday. The DOB quietly suspended both of Volpe’s licenses — for master rigger and hoisting machine operator — in March, a few weeks after the fatal accident. A call to Volpe’s union-affiliated business, JV Trucking and Rigging, was not immediately returned.

Antonio Veloso was killed on March 10 when a load fell off a crane at 364 Meredith Avenue. According to the Staten Island Advance, Veloso died roughly an hour after the incident, having suffered from severe trauma and cardiac arrest.

The DOB also filed a petition with the Office of Administrative Trial and Hearings, charging Volpe with disregard of public safety, negligence and failure to comply with city code. It will be determined in this proceeding whether or not he is stripped of his license permanently. A stop work order was issued for the site on May 2, alleging that work was counter to what was approved — specifically that unauthorized asphalt had been installed.

The last crane operator in the city to lose his license was Kevin Reilly, who allegedly made a series of mistakes that led to the fatal crane collapse in Tribeca last year. According to the DOB, Reilly failed to properly secure the crane the night before, and then the next day, had lowered the main boom of the crane at an improper angle, causing the machinery to plummet onto Worth Street. Thirty-eight-year-old David Wichs was killed in the collapse.

The DOB has recently been cracking down on alleged “bad actors,” especially those who violate or abuse the agency’s filing privileges.