Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Construction Accident

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construction accident locationScaffolding from a NYC construction site collapsed on  a woman yesterday.  The accident occurred yesterday around 1:00 pm while the heavy winds were hitting the city. The 39 year old mother walked in front of the Bedford Housing Development project located at 3160 Webster Ave in the Bronx while workers were removing a sidewalk bridge.  Her 3-year-old and 9-month-old sons were with her as well. As they were walking, the scaffolding collapsed and fell on the head of the victim.The mother was bleeding from the head and was transported to the hospital.  The two children weren’t injured. After the accident the Department of Building issued a stop work order while inspectors were investigating the exact cause of the accident.  Last August the same construction site was issued a violation for installing heating and AC equipment without a permit.

In New York City, pedestrians are often victims of construction accidents. In July last year a man suffered serious injury after being hit by a falling piece of plywood. In February David Wichs was killed by a crane that collapsed in  the South of Manhattan. Our firm represents his wife Rebecca.

Picture above: location of the construction accident, courtesy of Google Map

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CPWR logoFalls are the number one cause of death among construction workers. Most of them are preventable. Every year, The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are joining forces to launch a national construction fall prevention campaign. They are now getting ready for the 2017 Safety Stand-Down. If you want  to learn more about this campaign and hear about the results of the previous fall prevention campaigns you are welcome to join a free webinar. During this webinar, leaders from the CPWR, NIOSH and OSHA will review the past campaigns and present their plans for 2017. The webinar will be held Wednesday March 1st at 2:00 pm. If you would like to register please click here.

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A construction worker was pinned between a forklift and a van and died from his injuries. The forklift accident occurred  in front of a FDNY warehouse in Queens on Saturday afternoon. The 28 year old man drove the forklift in front of the warehouse in order to upload merchandise from a van. He put the forklift in neutral and stepped out. As he was walking toward the van, the forklift started to roll behind him, crushing him against the van. He was rushed to the emergency room but he died at the hospital. According to the NY Daily News, the equipment belonged to the FDNY.

Forklift accidents are unfortunately too common. 11% of the forklifts operating in the US are involved in accidents every year. Among these accidents 35,000 workers will die or suffer severe injuries and 65,000 will suffer minor injuries. Here are a few tips to prevent such accidents from happening.

 

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464 hard hats died in construction accidents in New York State between the beginning of 2006 and the end of 2016. 55 of them died in 2015. Construction is the second most dangerous industry in NY Sate after the agricultural industry. In New York City deaths related to construction accidents represent 34% of all occupational deaths compared to 32% in Los Angeles and 24% in Chicago. Most of these deaths are preventable according to the Annual Report on Construction Fatalities in New York State published this week by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH)

Over the last few years, the boom in the construction industry led to an increase in hard hat fatalities in New York City.  25 construction workers died on the job in 2015 compared to 22 in 2014, 17 in 2013, 20 in 2013 and 17 in 2011. Over these five years, almost 60% of the fatalities were related to falls.  Other common construction accidents were related to elevator installations, electrocutions, falling objects and workers caught between equipment or machinery. From 2014 to 2015, the number of NYC construction accidents involving injury or death almost doubled, It went from 231 in 2014 to 435 in 2015.

fatal construction accidents NYC
There are only 66 OSHA inspectors in New York State. In 2014, these inspectors visited more than 2,000 construction sites. Inspectors found violations on 2 out of 3 sites visited. The most common violation was failure to protect workers from falls. The average fine was $3,673. Since August 2016, OSHA increased its fines, hoping that it may deter contractors from violating safety standards. This increase in penalties took place two months after the preventable death of 22 year old Carlos Moncayo. After the death of Moncayo, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance collaborated with construction workers advocate groups to support the use of criminal laws to prosecute negligent contractors who recklessly endangered their employees life (see previous blog). As a result, Moncayo’s employer was criminally convicted and sent  to jail.

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Construction_Accident31 people died in construction accidents in New York over the last 2 years. Injuries from construction accidents recorded by the New York City Department of Buildings increased by 250% from 2011 to 2015.  The recent construction boom in the city has contributed to this increase in hard hats deaths and injuries.

In a recent opinion in the New York Times, Dominique Bravo, director of Pathways 2 Apprenticeships, expressed his outrage at the laissez-faire attitude in regards to safety regulations in the New York construction industry. Bravo notes that while the number of construction permits issued by the DOB increased by 18% between 2100 and 2014 the number of OSHA inspectors in New York State decreased by 13% during the same period of time. They are only 71 OSHA inspectors for the entire State of New York.

INADEQUATE FALL PROTECTION IS THE MOST COMMON VIOLATION

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Near Missed event visualized with BMI20% of  the workers who die at work are construction workers but they represent only 4% of the employed workforce in the US. Hard hats are among the workers that have the most risk of being injured or even dying on the job. Sadly, most of these accidents are preventable.

As technology develops, the construction industry has been relying more and more on Building Information Modeling (BIM) to develop its projects. BIM is used throughout the life cycle of a construction project to digitally monitor the design, the plan and the construction itself. BIM can also be used for safety management.

A recent short study published by the Center For Construction Research and Training shows how “near miss accidents” can be visualized in Building Information Modeling.  The authors of the study are Dr Eric Marks and Xu Chen from the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alabama.  Dr Eric Marks recently hosted a free 30 min CPWR Webinar on this subject. The webinar can be seen here.

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Domino_Sugar_refineryA construction worker fell to his death in New York City on Friday morning around 8:00 am. 59 year old Wilfredo Enrique was working on the facade of  a new residential development when he fell to his death.  Enrique was employed by Two Trees Management and was working on the construction site located on the old site of the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn. After the accident the site was closed and investigators were working on determining the exact cause of the fatal accident.

According to the most recent complaints reported on the NYC Department of Building website, the scaffold didn’t meet the building safety code standard. The worker fell approximately 4 floors from the master climbingwork platform, after Two Trees Management failed to safeguard the platform.  Since the construction started 41 complaints have been filled. The Department of Building issued a total of 27 violations, most of them immediately hazardous. 3 of them were still open at the time of the accident. Among the open violation were the use of rigging equipment by a non licensed rigger and the failure to safeguard all persons and property affected by the construction operations.

The accident occurred just a few weeks after the death of two other NYC construction workers in Queens (see previous blog). According to Union representatives, Enrique is the 29th construction worker who died over the last two years in New York City. The boom in the construction sector in New York has led to an increase in construction jobs in the city. In 2015, the New York Building Congress recorded 138,200 construction jobs, the highest in 40 years.

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constructionLast September we wrote a blog about a third of NYC construction accident deaths not being counted or investigated by the city. After Crain’s reported this continuing problem, Mayor de Blasio acted in a very nonchalant manner and brushed off the issue. Unions workers were outraged by his attitude.

Among the multiple deaths that the city didn’t count or investigate last year was the death of Alton Louis, a construction worker employed by CRV Precast. Alton Louis collapsed and died during the summer of 2015 after the subcontractor failed to implement a heat stress program and had him working a full shift during a day when the temperature reached 105 degrees. CRV precast was cited by OSHA for the death of the construction worker, but neither the NYC Department of Buildings nor the NYC Department of Investigation investigated the company. CPR was fined $6,300 by OSHA for the death of Alton Louis while the City looked the other way.

Two weeks ago, two construction workers died in Queens (see previous blog). Crain’s reported that one of these construction workers was employed by CVR Precast. The other hard hat who died worked for a firm subcontracted by CVR Precast.

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A crane operator and a construction worker were killed Tuesday when a 6,500-pound beam came crashing down at a Queens construction site, authorities said. A preliminary investigation determined that the incident, which took place shortly after 12 p.m. in the Briarwood neighborhood, was the result of a “material failure” with the crane, said Rick Chandler, commissioner of the New York City Department of Buildings. The rigging system used to hoist the beam snapped, causing it to fall four stories, he said. It appears that the cause was a failure of the Crane’s rigging system. There have been a number of Crane Accidents at New York City Construction Sites this year. Our Crane Accident Lawyers are representing victims in several of these accidents. See prior blog. Read more in New York Times.

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carlos moncayoForeman Wilmer Cueva negligent act caused the death of New York construction worker Carlos Moncayo. Wilmer Cueva, a foreman for Sky Material, an excavation company, was supervising work at a construction site located on 9th Ave in the Meatpacking District in Manhattan.

As the excavation of the site was progressing, Cueva received repeated warnings of imminent danger by an inspector. The trench that had reached 7 feet was not reinforced as it should have been. The NYC construction code requires that any trench reaching 5 feet be reinforced. Cueva ignored the warnings and the code and asked workers to continue to excavate.

The trench was 14 feet and still wasn’t reinforced when it collapsed on Carlos Moncayo. The accident was foreseeable and preventable and Wilmer Cueva acted in a criminal manner. He was was convicted of Criminally Negligent Homicide and Reckless Endangerment by a York State Supreme Court jury. He will be sentenced in December.