Articles Posted in Construction Accidents

Over the last two years, 31 construction workers have died in New York City, an ominous downside to the city’s construction boom.  Critics of the lax regulations that have allowed construction sites to become so dangerous point to the decline of unions that once protected workers from hazardous conditions. According to the Department of Buildings, construction injuries increased by 250 percent between 2011 and 2015.

roof-work-300x200As evidence that the decline of unions has imperiled construction worker’s safety, the New York Times points out that 29 of the 31 deaths in the City over the last year were non-union construction workers. This sad statistic is not particularly surprising, though – according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) non-union contracts make up 90 percent of the “Severe Violator Enforcement Program,” an involuntary program for habitual and serious offenders. Continue reading

roof-work-300x200A construction worker’s death in Chelsea last month marked the ninth construction death in New York City for 2017. The 34-year-old man, Przemyskaw Krawczyk, was standing on the sidewalk next to the building when an anchoring bracket fell on him. According to the New York Daily News, the piece of metal fell over ten stories before striking the man. Krawczyk was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The scaffolding fell from 61 Ninth Ave., a high-rise commercial development directly across from Chelsea Market and Google’s New York headquarters. The construction operation on the building was previously cited numerous times by the New York Department of Buildings. The construction site was partially shut down twice since May of the same year. Several of the code violations dealt with the scaffolding around the construction site.

Responding to the horrific construction accident, Buildings Department spokesman Joseph Soldevere told the New York Daily News, “This tragedy appears to have been completely preventable and we are taking enforcement actions against all parties involved.” Continue reading

Two construction workers in Manhattan died within hours of each other in two separate accidents in September of this year.

In the first accident, two veteran construction workers fell while working on a 62-story mixed use building at 9th Avenue and 33rd Street. The men, both 45-years old, fell out of a bucket lift approximately 35 feet to the ground below. While they were wearing harnesses, other members of the construction team noted that they were apparently not attached to anything.

construction-fallMedical teams rushed one person to the hospital, where he recovered. Unfortunately, the other construction worker fell on his face and was pronounced dead at the scene. The names of the two workers in the midtown accident were not released to the press, pending an investigation by the Department of Buildings. Continue reading

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

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