Articles Posted in Construction Accidents

Mayor Bill de Blasio and union leaders are set to increase the amount of training hours required for construction laborers. Under the new regulations, all workers will be trained between 54 and 71 hours and supervisors will be trained an additional 30 hours.

In addition, certain workers will be required to undergo “task specific training” which could total 242 hours of training. More specifically, any laborers who will be working in “confined spaces” will need two to 16 hours of additional training. Rigging safety and suspended scaffold workers will need an additional 16 hours of training, their supervisors will require an additional 32 hours. Ten hours of additional training will be required for “excavation, demolition, and perimeter protections.”

The move by City Hall comes in response to an uptick in injuries and deaths on construction sites. The New York Coscaffold-300x200mmittee for Occupational Safety & Health recorded 25 construction fatalities in 2015, an alarming rise from the 17 recorded in 2015.  Mayor de Blasio is reportedly “very upset” whenever a fatal accident happens at a construction site. According to Politico, the Mayor “yells at staff whenever a death occurs.” Continue reading

Falls are becoming a more common cause of injuries in the construction industry. Between 2011 and 2015, the annual number of falls has increased by 36 percent – an increase from 781 falls in 2011 to 985 falls in 2015. According to the Center for Construction Research and Training, the rise in construction accidents is likely attributable to a rise in construction from an improving economy. From a demographic standpoint, these injuries are most common in Hispanic workers, foreign-born workers, workers over the age of 55, and roofers. Geographically, these injuries from falls are specifically concentrated in urban areas – such as Los Angeles and New York.

Hispanic workers are much more likely to die from construction-related accidents than non-Hispanic workers. In a survey by The Center for Construction and Research and Training, Hispanic construction workers have a fatality rate of 4.9 per 100,000 workers, while white non-Hispanic workers have a fatality rate of 3.0 per 100,000 workers. Foreign-born and older workers also have an elevated risk of dying on a construction site – at 3.7 deaths and per 100,000 workers. Workers over the age of 55 are the group most susceptible to falls – accounting for 31 percent of falls, at a rate of 8.1 per 100,000 workers.

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On January 30, 2007, Eddie Goodwin was on the fourth day of working to install wood paneling and molding at the Dix Hills Jewish Center in Dix Hills, New York when he was injured after falling from an unstable ladder. In preparing to lay the paneling, Goodwin had removed several fixtures from the walls – including two audio speakers. As the job was nearing its completion on the fourth day, a Rabbi employed by the temple asked Goodwin to re-install the speakers. Because rehanging the speakers would involve drilling holes and installing brackets, Goodwin used a ladder that was at the temple. After successfully installing the first speaker, Goodwin was in the process of installing the second speaker when the ladder “started swinging” and he subsequently fell from the ladder’s fourth rung and sustained injuries.

Goodwin sued the temple under New York Labor Law § 240 (1) which would hold the temple responsible for Goodwin’s injuries if Goodwin were damaged while “altering the building at the time of his accident.” The temple argued that because he was merely installing speakers, and therefore was not “altering” the building. On the other hand, Goodwin pointed to evidence of drilling holes and installing brackets as evidence that the speaker installation should be construed as an “alteration” of the building.

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Two NYC construction workers were killed when a 6,500 pound steel beam came crashing down from the fourth floor or a building after a crane wire snapped. Department of Buildings Commissioner (DBC), Rick Chandler, believes the rigging rope failed which caused the beam to fall. The city will conduct an investigation to find out whether the wind was a factor in the accident; winds were gusting at almost 40 mph.

The equipment is owned by Cranes Express Inc. and was being used to build a residential building in Briarwood, Queens.  Last January, the company received a $3,500 fine from the federal Occupational Satefy and Health Administration for a “serious” violation at a construction site in Brooklyn. A source from DBC said the equipment passed inspection in June and an employee from the company did not have a comment or information at the time. Continue reading

A 43 year old construction worker died after an accident at a construction site in Brooklyn on October 11 when a piece of machinery snapped and hit him in the head.

The construction worker was operating a pile drilling machine when a shackle from the machine snapped and hit him in the head and left him unconscious. NYPD responded to a call and found the man “unconscious and unresponsive with severe trauma to the head and body; he was pronounced dead at the scene. A security guard at the scene stated he left briefly to grab lunch and by the time he came back, the man was dead. He continued to say it is sad the man went to work and is now gone.

The attorneys at Gallivan & Gallivan take pride in representing the workers in all trades.  In the event you have any questions about your rights as a worker, please contact us.

On April 1, a young construction worker fell to his death while working on a two-family house in Brooklyn. Alex Santizo, 21, of Queens was working on the second floor of the home when a piece of debris struck him in the head and caused him to tumble through an air shaft from the second floor of the building to the basement. NYPD arrived at the scene around 2:15 pm in response to a call reporting an unconscious person. A witness said that when EMS workers removed him his face was covered in blood; he was taken to the hospital, but could not be saved.

Santizo’s family gathered at the job site on Saturday in remembrance of him. His mother was deeply upset as she left her apartment in Queens, saying she was very sad and was going to be with her family. The family did not have any details about the tragic loss at the time, his mother said she heard it was an accident.

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In a report released January 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that there were 10,388 severe workplace injuries in 2015; 7,636 of those injuries resulted in hospitalization and 2,644 resulted in amputations. The manufacturing industry has the highest reported accidents, accounting for 57% of all amputations and 26% of all hospitalizations, followed by the construction, transportation and warehousing industries. This data was collected by OSHA from 26 states with higher safety standards than federally mandated.

The report came as the result of new regulations that require companies to report serious workplace accidents within 24 hours. This new program took effect on January 1, 2015 in an effort to reduce the amount of workplace injuries; currently there are 30 severe work-related injuries a day. OSHA stated that during investigations of fatal injuries they often find a history of serious injuries at the site, which was a wake-up call that safety issues were being disregarded. Continue reading

The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department in Montenegro v P12, LLC, 2015 NY Slip Op 05919 [130 AD3d 695] reversed a lower court’s decision granting a defendant’s motion for summary judgment to dismiss a cause of action alleging a violation of Labor Law § 241(6), predicated on 12 NYCRR 23-1.8(a).

The plaintiff was employed as a carpenter on a renovation project at a premises owned by the defendant.  The plaintiff was injured while using a pneumatic nail gun to attach molding around a window.  He was struck in the eye with a nail and sustained injuries to the eye. Continue reading

The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department granted partial summary judgment to the plaintiff in a ladder / elevation case under Labor Law 240.

The plaintiff was an electrician for Atlas-Acon Electric Service who was working on NBC property in New York City. The plaintiff ascended an A-frame ladder in order to replace the ballasts on 25 light fixtures. After completing his job, he began to descend the ladder. At this time, the ladder swayed, and the plaintiff fell, sustaining injuries. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit for Labor Law 240 violations.

Labor Law 240 (1) is also known as the Scaffold Law. Labor Law 240 covers protections for employees working at elevated heights. It requires employers to provide or erect scaffolding, blocks, irons, ropes, pulleys, and harnesses for employees working at elevated heights. The law was codified in order to protect employees from the increased risk of danger and injury at elevated heights. The law is specifically directed at employees working on construction or renovation sites. When an employer fails to provide or maintain any equipment as required by Labor Law 240, the employer has violated the law. A violation of Labor Law 240 is evidence of negligence if the employee falls or is otherwise injured due to lack of safety equipment.

The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department dismissed an entire personal injury case because the construction worker plaintiff failed to state any claims in his appeal under which he could be entitled to any relief.

The plaintiff was working on a construction site owned by the defendant. The plaintiff stepped on a flatbed trailer that was provided by the contractor in charge of the construction project (not the defendant). The flatbed trailer had a hole on it that the plaintiff did not see. The plaintiff’s leg sunk through the hole, all of the way up to his hip, and he sustained injuries. The plaintiff filed a personal injury case, alleging a variety of Labor Law and Industrial Code claims.

The plaintiff filed suit against the owners of the property and not the contractor in charge of the construction project that had employed him. The defendant was therefore able to show it was prima facie entitled to summary judgment and therefore dismissal of the entire complaint.

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