BY LEO STANDORA
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
The Buildings Department Friday pulled a construction worker's rigging license for allegedly failing to supervise the dismantling of a crane from which a Long Island father of three fell to his death.
Anthony Esposito's fatal 40-story plunge Thursday was the latest in a series of construction-related fatalities that have plagued the city recently.
What caused Esposito, 43, of Baldwin, L.I., to plummet from a walkway linking the crane to gigantic Silver Towers at W. 42nd St. and Eleventh Ave. wasn't immediately clear, but officials said his safety harness wasn't connected to the building.
After a preliminary investigation, the Buildings Department suspended the master rigger's license of Gene Altobelli, 56, of Yorktown Heights, N.Y., and said he'll face administrative charges.
Investigators said they found unsafe conditions existed during the operation, including the unfastened safety harness and a missing safety railing on the platform from which Esposito fell.
They said Altobelli told them he wasn't on the crane but in a shanty taking a break when Esposito fell.
City Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said the probe revealed inattention to basic safety precautions.
"Safety must be job one on every construction project," she declared. "Swift action has been taken to ensure that this message is clear and that safety is preserved."
More than 20 people have died in city construction accidents this year, including nine in two crane collapses.