In 2008, two tower cranes from the New York Crane and Equipment Co. collapsed in two separate incidents and killed a total of nine people. On March 15, 2008, the crane collapse killed Wayne Bleidner, 51; Brad Cohen, 54; Clifford Canzona, 45; Aaron Stephens, 45; Anthony Mazza, 39; Santino Gallone, 37; and Odin Torres, 28. On May 30, 2008, Donald Leo, 30, and Ramadan Kurtaj, 27 were killed and Simeon Alexis, 32, was seriously injured.

Brian Kates of the New York Daily News reported Friday that the Manhattan District Attorney was preparing to charge James Lomma, owner of New York Crane and Equipment Co., with manslaughter for the two May 30th deaths. Earlier today, Kates reported that Lomma and employee Tibor Varganyi have been indicted for manslaughter and face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Kates explains:

The crane collapsed because of a faulty repair weld made on the cheap by an unqualified Chinese company without approval or review by the city Buildings Department, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said.

“This tragedy is particularly devastating because it could have been prevented,” Vance said. “When safety is sacrificed for profit, the public bears the risk.”

While individual actions played a leading role in the two fatal New York crane collapses, it’s also worth noting that OSHA has been far too slow in getting its cranes and derricks rule completed. As Celeste noted after these tragedies in 2008, OSHA established a negotiated rulemaking committee on this rule back in 2003, but a recent regulatory agenda doesn’t anticipate the rule being finalized until July 2010.

In other news:

Economist: Apple reports that some of its suppliers in China have been violating worker-health and environmental standards. The company states that remedial steps have been taken, but does not provide specifics regarding how many workers were affected or where the problems occurred.

Bloomberg: A Louisiana jury awarded a total of $1.2 million to 16 workers who sued ExxonMobil over radiation exposures they received while cleaning oil drilling pipes.

New York Times (City Room blog): Even as the federal minimum wage rises, the hourly wage for tipped employees remains at $2.13 per hour – where it’s been for the last 18 years.

NPR: Farmworkers and public-health advocates have asked EPA to ban pesticide spraying near schools, hospitals, and childcare centers.

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