One construction worker died on the job in New York City in June bringing the total of deaths to 5 for the first half of 2019 compared to respectively 6, 2, 5 and 6 for the first semester of 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015. The June fatality occurred in Manhattan. 4 of the 5 fatalities on NYC construction sites occurred in Manhattan and the other one in Brooklyn during this first semester. No deaths were recorded in the Bronx, Queens or Staten Island construction sites during the first six months of the year.
A total of 4 construction accident fatalities were recorded in Manhattan during the first semester of 2019 compared to respectively 2, 1, 3 and 3 during the first semesters of 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015. This last semester was the deadliest in Manhattan since 2015.
One hard hat died in Brooklyn during the first semester of 2019 compared to respectively 1, 1, 1 and 2 during the first semesters of 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015.
The death that occurred in June was reported as a fall. Falls are the most common causes of deaths in the construction industry in New York and in the US as well. Out of the 5 constructions workers who died in accidents during the first semester of 2019, 3 of them fell.
According to the NYC Department Of Buildings, the worker who died removed his harness and came down from a pipe scaffold then returned to the scaffold to pick up his meal. As he was doing so he stumbled and fell from the second level of the scaffold which was approximately 12 to 14 feet high. He fell onto the sidewalk and later died from his injuries. The DOB found that the contractor didn’t have neither design drawings for the scaffold nor authorization to erect it. The scaffold was approximately fifty feet in height. A violation and a full stop work order were issued.
June marks the third consecutive month that a hard hat suffered a fatal fall in New York City. 2 fall fatalities were recorded during the first semester of the year before. 2 were recorded during the first 6 months of 2017 and 2016 and 3 during the same period of 2015.
One of the fatalities recorded by the DOB this first semester was a death related to a mechanical construction equipment failure. 34 year old Gregory Echevarria was killed by the counterweight of the crane he was helping to install (see previous blog) for the company United Crane and Rigging. After a second accident occurred with a crane operated by the same company, United Crane and Rigging was temporarily banned from operating in New York City (see previous blog). Fatalities related to the failure of mechanical construction equipment are not that common in NYC. Before Echevarria’s death another hard hat passed away a year before in an accident caused by the failure of mechanical construction equipment. No fatalities related to this factor were recorded in 2017, 3 in 2016 and 1 in 2015.
Another fatality this semester was related to the fall of material. 51 year old Nelson Salinas was working on a suspended scaffold to repair a facade of a Manhattan building. As he was lowering the scaffold, a piece of coping stone that was under one of the C-hooks fell onto his head. He was rushed to the hospital where he died from his injuries (see previous post). Recently the DOB announced that the use of stand-off brackets for suspended scaffolds was now banned after it was identified as a contributing factor in recent suspended scaffold accidents.
55 construction workers were injured in June 2019 bringing the total of workers injured to 287 for the first half of the year 2019 compared to 403 for the same period of the year before and respectively 286, 253 and 199 in the same periods of 2017, 2016 and 2015. Almost half of the injuries occurred in Manhattan and a good part of them in Brooklyn as well. A few workers were also injured in Queens and in the Bronx. There were no injuries reported in Staten Island.
Except for the month of February during which 40 workers were injured, the monthly number of construction workers injured on Manhattan construction sites never went over 25 during the first semester. During the same period of last year this number was always above 30 except for 25 in April. While looking at a 4 year period the trend of construction accident injuries is still on the rise in Manhattan despite an improvement at the beginning of this year.
15 hard hats were injured in Brooklyn last June compared to 20 the month before and 20 in June 2018. A total of 65 construction workers were injured in Brooklyn during the first semester of 2019 compared to 106 during the first semester of 2018. New regulations requiring that anyone working on a construction site in New York City undergo safety training might have contributed to the diminution of injuries.
Queens construction accident injuries are also on long term rising trend. However, the monthly number of workers injured never went over 10 during the first six months of the year. 9 workers were injured in June 2019 in Queens compared to 5 in May 2019 and 6 in June 2018. A total of 37 workers were injured during the first semester of 2019 on Queens construction sites compared to 51 for the same period a year ago.
The number of construction workers injured in the Bronx was at a record high in June 2019. 8 hard hard hats were injured during this month compared to 4 in May and 5 in June 2018. A total of 28 workers were injured in Bronx construction accidents compared to 21 during the same period a year before. The Bronx is the only borough that recorded an increase in construction accident injuries during the first semester of the year compared to the previous year.
In Staten Island only one worker was injured during the first semester of the year according to the DOB compared to 15 for the same period a year before.
While looking at injuries by type, 24 of the 55 injuries recorded in June in New York City were classified as “other” by the DOB. Injuries classified as “other” are most of the time minor injuries such as workers hitting or cutting themselves while performing a task. 17 injuries were related to fall. Most fall injuries occurred because the worker wasn’t provided with the necessary safety equipment. 5 workers were injured while installing a scaffold, a shed or a shoring, 3 suffered injuries related to mechanical construction equipment failure and 5 were injured after material fell on them. 1 worker was injured while performing excavation work.
70 people were injured after they fell while working on a New York City construction site during the first semester of 2019 compared to 103 during the same period of 2018. Fall is not only the leading cause of deaths but also the leading cause of injuries for construction workers. Most of them are preventable. Among the 17 fall injuries recorded in June, 12 of them could have been prevented if adequate safety measures were in place at the construction site.