Three people were injured in April when scaffolding collapsed near the entrance to the Borough Hall Train Station in Brooklyn Heights. The scaffolding, which was being taken down at the time, left one construction worker with serious injuries and two pedestrians with relatively minor injuries. The company responsible for the scaffolding, New Force Construction Corporation, has previously been fined $25,000 by the New York City Department of Buildings for not following worker safety laws.
According to a witness speaking to CBS New York, “We just all of a sudden heard a crashing of the scaffolding, and then people screaming.” Other witnesses described a similar scene of mayhem when the 20-foot section of scaffolding in front of the Starbucks came crashing down onto two pedestrians who happened to be walking under the sidewalk shed. According to witnesses on the scene, the two pedestrians suffered relatively minor injuries while the construction worker’s arm appeared to be “seriously hurt and badly injured.” In addition to the three New Yorkers injured in the collapse, the faulty sidewalk shed also took down a crosswalk light at the intersection of Court Street and Joralemon Street, according to the NYPD.
According to the police, the scaffolding was being taken down when the construction accident occurred and a full investigation into the accident will be conducted by the New York City Department of Buildings. New Force Construction Corporation declined to comment on the accident. The company has previously been fined for safety violations for “failing to safeguard persons and property during a construction operation,” according to CBS New York.
Construction workers have seen a marked increase in accidents and deaths in recent years as OSHA funding, and consequently inspections, have declined. Mayor de Blasio has attempted to stem the rise in accidents that have also become more noticeable because of New York’s construction boom in recent years. Last year, the Mayor signed legislation to increase mandatory training for construction workers, stating at the time “It’s just not acceptable to lose a life when we could save that life… too often these work sites were not managed the way they should have been.” In 2016, the Mayor also significantly increased fines for companies caught violating worker safety laws with first-time offenders receiving a fine of $10,000, up from a maximum of $2,400. Repeat offenders could be fined up to $20,000. Further, the mayor hired 100 more enforcement officers that year to perform inspections. There is no data available on the effect of these policies on construction worker safety.
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