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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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Our NY personal injury injury law firm is proud to announce that our partners Anthony H. Gair and Christopher J. Donadio obtained a $6.5 million settlement for a construction worker injured in Manhattan.

The case involved a worker who was injured while performing demolition work at a large construction site. On the day of the incident, the worker was instructed by his foreman to remove any material that was attached to the permanent ceiling on the second floor of the work site. In order to perform the work, the worker was required to use a large blowtorch while standing on a mobile scaffold. Unfortunately, the provided mobile scaffold did not have any safety railings. While the worker was performing his work on the scaffold, he lost his balance and fell headfirst to the concrete ground six to eight feet below.

The worker was rushed to Bellevue Hospital where he was diagnosed with a skull fracture and a brain injury. He was forced to undergo several surgeries as a result of his injuries.

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A total of 5 construction workers lost their life on the job in New York City between April 1st and June 31st . Since 2015, this is only the second time that construction fatalities recorded by the NYC Department of Buildings during the second quarter reached such a high number. The other time was in 2019. 2 fatalities occurred in Brooklyn, one in Manhattan, one in the Bronx and one in Queens. 3 of the fatalities were falls and two were related to mechanical construction equipment. The last two weeks of May were particularly deadly. On May 19th, at around 8:20 am, two workers were cleaning debris on the 5th floor of a construction site located at 20 Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx. They loaded a new elevator car with the debris, got in the car with the debris and proceeded to head downstairs. The elevator had a mechanical failure and the car fell from the fifth floor. One of the workers was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident and the second was injured and transported to the hospital. Three days later in Queens, a deadly accident occurred when two workers were instructed to use an extension ladder from the sixth floor chimney shaft to the roof. One of the workers said he heard a “crush sound” as he was at the second or third step of the ladder and turned around, he didn’t see anything so he kept going and took the ladder by himself to the roof. His colleague was found dead almost two hours later on the second floor. He had fell in an elevator shaft. 5 days later on May 27th, a hard hat who was working on a roof during a demolition job, fell to his death at a construction site located at 1045 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. Two other workers died earlier in April, one of them came in contact with a live wire and was fatally electrocuted on a Manhattan construction site located at 555 West 22nd Street and the other one fell to his death from a dangerous scaffolding installation at a construction site located at East 53rd Street in Brooklyn.  These recent fatalities were so alarming that the DOB organized a massive sweep of all major construction sites in the city and temporarily closed hundreds of them for not respecting safety standards. (see previous blog).

Hard hat fatalities NYC Q2 2021
Falls remain the number one cause of fatal construction accidents in New York City. Again during Q2, 3 of the 5 fatalities were fall. Most of the time fall fatalities are the result of negligence by the contractor and could have been prevented. Fatalities often occur on sites that have a history of violations and complaints, for example, the construction site located at 1200 East 53rd Street in Brooklyn has so far recorded a total of 30 complaints, 50 DOB Violations including 8 open and 40 OATH/ECB violations including an open one for failing to notify the DOB after the death of the worker. A stop work order is still active at this location. The site located at 45-18 Court Square in Queens previously logged in 53 complaints, 54 DOB violations including 3 open and 39 OATH/ECB violations including 11 open. Before the deadly accident occurred at this site, the contractor was fined for failing to safeguard all persons and property affected by construction operations. This violation is still open. The same goes for the site located at 1045 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn which as of Today has a stop work order with 20 OATH/ECB violations open, most of them of the highest severity. Hard hats working on construction sites that are unsafe have a much higher risk to die in a construction accident.

Construction worker fatalities by type of accidents Q2 NYC
The number of construction workers injured on the job was a little lower than usual during the second quarter. A total of 144 workers suffered injury in construction accidents in New York City during the 3-month period of April, May, June 2021 compared to respectively, 68, 150, 233, 170, 171 and 134 during the same period of 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015.  Last year the numbers were lower because of the Covid19 lockdown and we can not compare them to any other year. Manhattan had the most injuries, followed by Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island.

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roofers fatalityRoofers have one of the most dangerous occupations among all workers. Every year more than hundred of them are dying in fall accidents. According to the most recent statistics, among the 401 fall fatalities recorded in the construction industry in 2019, 146 of them were roofer fatalities. Roofers have the fourth highest fatal injury rate after fishing and hunting workers, logging workers and aircraft and flight engineers according to the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (see graph on the left)

Many fatal falls could have been prevented if  roofers were using a personal fall arrest

In New York, employers are required by law to provide roofers with a personal fall arrest system that meets the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI Z359).  A personal fall arrest system consists of a full body harness, connectors and lanyards that will limit the fall distance by being attached to a fixed anchor. Under New York Law, roofers also have to take a determined amount of hours of training in order to learn how to use the equipment.

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workers on suspended scaffoldIn an effort to reduce construction accident deaths and injuries in New York City, the Department of Buildings has been deploying new strategies and increasing its staff. It just released a new report about it.

New inspection unit

The DOB role is not only to deliver wok permits for new construction or renovations but also to make sure that construction workers are being fully protected when they do their job. In order to do so the DOB created a new inspection unit called the “Construction Safety Compliance”. Inspectors in this unit are targeting mainly large NYC construction sites and making sure that all workers have been following the Site Safety Training and contractors are respecting all construction safety rules.

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5 construction workers died on the job in New York City between April 1st and May 31st. This is the highest number of  hard hat fatalities over a 2-month period since at least 2015. 2 fatal accidents occurred in Brooklyn, 1 in Manhattan, 1 in the Bronx and 1 in Queens. So far, since the beginning of the year, 7 workers died on NYC construction sites compared to respectively  1 and 8  for the same period of  2020 and 2019. (click on the graphs for full view)

Construction Accident Deaths May 2021 NYC
64 NYC construction workers suffered injuries in April and 38 in May. Between January 1st 2021 and May 31st a total of 223 workers were injured on the job in the city. It is more than during the same period of 2020, when 186 workers were injured, but less than during the same period of 2019 when 502 hard hats were injured.

Injuries on New York Construction sites May 21

Manhattan remains the borough with the highest number of construction accidents as well as the highest number of injuries and deaths related to these accidents

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construction workers moving equipment are at risk of struck by accidentsHard hats working at 322 construction sites in NYC were at risk of getting injured or dying in construction accidents because their jobsite was not safe.

These 322 sites including 113 in Brooklyn, 83 in Manhattan, 69 in Queens, 54 in the Bronx and 3 in Staten Island were issued a stop work order and fines by the NYC Department of Buildings after its inspectors conducted a massive safety sweep. (See previous blog).

Recent spike in NYC construction accident deaths

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job-made-boxes-can-lead-to-serious-injury-and-deathIn a recent bulletin, OSHA warns construction workers and other workers using forklifts about potential injuries and deaths caused by “job-made boxes”

What are “job-made boxes”?

Job made boxes are any makeshift attachments created by construction workers or workers in other industries such as boxes, baskets or platforms. They are often made of wood as well as metal and plastic. They look like a little balcony: a platform with 3 walls around it. Workers attach these boxes to forklifts to lift equipment, workers or material to various heights. Workers also use them to step on them when working at elevated levels.

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road work signRoad construction accidents have been increasing during the pandemic. According to a recent article in Construction Dive, 60% of contractors reported an increase in crashes in their work zone last year.

During the lockdown as construction work was deemed essential in many States, Department of Transportation officials thought that significantly less cars on the road would provide a good opportunity for them to execute some road work without blocking and disturbing too much traffic.  However, with less traffic on the road, speeding and other reckless driving behavior increased and contractors reported  more crashes in highway work zones all over the country during the lockdown.  In a PEW study that was released last year, many States recorded an increased in work zone crashes despite a decline in traffic in the US by 40% in April and 26% in May.

444 reckless drivers ticketed during Operation Hard Hat in NY State

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https://www.newyorkpersonalinjuryattorneysblog.com/wp-admin/post-new.php3 NYC construction workers died  and another one was critically injured in 3 separate construction accidents in New York City.

On May 19th a hard hat was killed and his colleague critically injured after an elevator in a charter school under construction fell from the top floor to the ground in the Bronx . The two workers were in the elevator transporting debris.

On May 22nd, a construction worker fell to his death at a construction site in Long Island City, Queens. 32 year old Diego Lliguicota fell down an elevator shaft from the sixth floor to the second one.

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construction workers moving equipment are at risk of struck by accidentsStruck by injuries are the most common non-fatal injuries sustained by construction workers.

Among the 79.7 k construction workers who were injured in 2019, 16.6K suffered struck by injuries and 4 K suffered struck against injuries. Struck by accidents are also among the top causes of construction workers fatalities. In 2019, out of a total of 1,102 workers fatalities, 80 construction workers died after being struck by a vehicle and 70 of them died after being struck by an object or equipment.

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) recently analyzed data related to these types of injuries and published the result of the study in a recent data-bulletin. Researchers at CPWR found that there was a big difference on how fatal and non-fatal struck by injuries occur. Fatal struck by injuries mostly occur when a construction worker is struck by a vehicle while non fatal struck by injuries are mostly caused by handheld objects or equipment.