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Articles Posted in Construction Accident

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Gregory EchevarriaA NYC hard hat who was installing a crane died after the counter weight he was setting fell on him.

34 year old Gregory Echevarria was part of a crew installing a crane at a luxury residential development located at 570 Broome Street in Soho early Saturday morning. A little bit after 3:00 am the crane counterweight that Echevarria was installing slipped and fatally struck him. The crew immediately called 911. When the EMS crew arrived they found him unresponsive with severe injuries all over his body. He was declared dead at the scene of the accident. Two other workers were also injured in the accident.  People who were in the area at the time of the accident reported a very loud sound as the 7.5 ton counterweight fell.

After the accident the crane was moved and a stop work order was issued by the Department of Buildings. The 570 Broom project is being built by  Agime Group. KSK Construction Group is managing the construction project. The DOB previously received several safety complaints for the site.

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A young construction worker fatally fell from a building in New York City last Wednesday. 23 year old Erik Mendoza was replacing bricks underneath a water tower located on the rooftop of  1 Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights when he fell off the building. A Mexican immigrant, Mendoza had arrived in the US 5 years ago.  He had just started his job as a construction worker for the building a week before the accident.

No permit required doesn’t mean no worker protection

The work Mendoza was doing wasn’t didn’t require a permit, however it is the responsibility of the employer to make sure that employees effectuate their work in safe conditions. As he was working under the water tower with a colleague, he slipped and fell 13 stories, landing in front of the entrance of the luxury co-op pre-war building.

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Fall Prevention Campaign887 workers lost their life after falling at their job sites in 2017 according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the highest number of fall deaths ever recorded by the BLS since the agency started to track these numbers almost 30 years ago. Fall fatalities account for 17% of all job-related fatalities and 40% of all construction job-related fatalities.

The most at risk are often construction workers with little training and experience who have been hired to work on construction sites after the recent boom in construction led to a labor force shortage in the industry. 60% of construction workers who died in a fall in 2017 were working for small companies (1 to 10 workers). As a comparison small construction companies only hire a third of the workforce in the construction industry in the US. Small companies are often hired for residential construction, a sector where fatal falls more than doubled between 2010 and 2015. Hispanic workers are the most at risk of dying in a fall accident. Language barrier, little training and also the fear of immigration authorities preventing undocumented workers to report dangerous conditions to OSHA are among the factors that led Hispanic workers to perform some of the most dangerous jobs in the construction industry.

Fall related violations are the most common OSHA violations

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311 E. 50th Street scaffolding accident locationA stone fell on the head of a NYC construction worker and killed him on Monday. 51 year old Nelson Salinas from Queens was on a scaffold, repairing the facade of  an Upper East Side residential building in Manhattan when the accident occurred.   A delivery man saw him dangling in midair with his head covered in blood and called 911. The worker was rushed to the hospital but he couldn’t be saved.

Nelson Salinas who was employed by Vlad Restoration, was performing minor facade repair on a suspended scaffold system. He was located at the 7th floor level of the 14-story building locates at 311 E. 50th Street near Second Ave when a coping stone that may have been knocked loose by the equipment used to secure the scaffolding to the facade fell on his head.  According to the Department of Buildings investigators the stone was a piece of the building’s parapet.  Read more about the accident in the NY Daily News

Preventing NYC Scaffold Accidents

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NYC Construction AccidentThe DOB recently released the presentations made at  last year’s Build Safe/Live Safe Conference. Among them,  “Construction Safety, Year in Review, Recent and Upcoming Changes” by Timothy Hogan and Patrick Wehle reviews and documents with pictures every fatal and near miss construction accident that occurred in New York City in 2017. Among the 12 fatalities, 1 worker died from electrocution and 11 died in falls that could have been prevented by following safety guidelines. In all 11 accidents, workers either weren’t wearing a harness or were wearing it but it wasn’t tied off proprely or not at all.

Near Misses resulting in serious injuries

The presentation also highlights 6 near misses that resulted in serious injuries for workers. These accidents were completely avoidable, related to the decision of the contractor and required extensive rescue operations. In one of the accidents a crane that was illegally modified dropped a 15,000 pound shearing hammer on a construction worker’s leg. Two accidents were related to a floor collapsing on workers because of overload. A shoring failure caused 6 workers to be caught in a collapse of 12+ yards of concrete. A small crane overturned after a stressed out operator failed to deploy the outriggers. 6 workers doing demo almost died in a roof collapse.

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construction safety weekNew York Construction Safety Week will take place from May 6 to 10 2019.  During this yearly awareness campaign staff members from the New York City Department of Buildings visit construction sites and promote safety. The week ends with the Build Safe, Live Safe Conference.

The subject of the multilingual campaign is “Experience is not Enough”. The campaign promotes the use of safety equipment especially fall protection. No matter how experienced a construction worker is or how many years he spent in his job, he should always use fall protection. Fall is the number one cause of fatalities in construction sites in New York and in the US. Employers are responsible to provide a safe work environment and prevent workers from falling. Leading edge and floor openings must be protected by guardrails, cable, netting, solid barrier or solid planking. If workers are performing tasks near an unprotected open floor, leading edge or shaft, they are required to wear a safety harness that is proprely connected to an approved anchor point. The campaign will also promote the safe usage of extension cords and the prevention of tripping hazards. Additionally, DOB staff members will provide tips on how to keep a construction site clean and ordered to prevent accidents. Construction workers will also be briefed on how to keep the public safe when walking near a construction site.

A conference to make construction in NYC safer

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Construction workerThe leading cause of non fatal personal injuries among construction workers is Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs). Construction work is physically demanding and involves manual material handling that requires construction workers to effectuate tasks such as carrying, pushing, lifting, lowering or holding heavy material or equipment. As a result construction workers are prone to soft tissues injuries. Strains and sprains are common as well as more serious injuries to the muscles, the tendons, the ligaments, the nerves, the cartilages and the disks. Not only musculoskeletal disorders  can be extremely painful but they also force the worker to stop working and therefore reducing his income. It is also a burden for the employer in terms of productivity.  Healthy workers keeps costs low and productivity high for contractors. Therefore incorporating ergonomics on a construction site is a win win situation for both workers and contractors.

Helping contractors address ergonomic hazards and reduce workers risk for musculoskeletal disorders

This afternoon the Center For for Construction Research and Training is offering a free webinar that will look at how to Incorporate Ergonomics into a Construction Safety Management Program. Presented by Ann Marie Dale, Associate Professor, Washington University School of Medicine, the seminar will introduce participants to available tools, equipment and work processes that are available to reduce the physical demand of the construction workers job. She will explain how contractors can include these tools and techniques in the day to day activities of a construction site and promote a culture of safety on the construction site. Dr Dale has over 30 years of experience in the clinical treatment of work-related upper extremity conditions and in worksite based prevention of musculoskeletal disorders.

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carbon monoxide danger signNine construction workers were hospitalized after they suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning last week in Manhattan. The construction workers were putting down concrete in a very small confined space in the foundations of a construction site located at 30 E. 29th St. in Manhattan. The site is the future location of a 639-foot-tall luxury residential art Deco-Inspired skyscraper developed by the Rockefeller Group.
A gasoline generator that was also running in the same space to provide electrical power poisoned the workers with carbon monoxide fumes. Gasoline generators that are releasing carbon monoxide are not supposed to be used indoors or in places that are not ventilated. Carbon monoxide can not be smelled but it can kill in minutes.  Warning signs of Carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to flu or cold symptoms and include weakness, fainting, dizziness, headache, nausea and shortness of breath.
The FDNY received a first call for a sick worker around 4:30 pm. The worker was feeling ill and dizzy. When they arrived other workers who had been able to get out of the underground space by themselves were also feeling sick. Two of their colleagues however were so ill that they had to be lifted up by the firefighters. A total of 65 firefighters and paramedics had to be called to the rescue to extricate the workers safely from the confined space.
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Elevator Accident Deaths in ConstructionIn 2017 24,890 people who suffered personal injury in an escalator or elevator accident were treated in American hospitals, compared to 25,951 in 2016 and 19,005 in 2007. The number of elevator accident injuries has been on the rise over the last 10 years in the US.

Fatalities related to elevator and escalator accidents are less common and occur mostly on construction sites. According to the Quarterly Report recently published by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) 28 workers died in elevator accidents on construction sites in 2016 compared to 14 in 2003. The number of workers dying in elevator accidents has been on a rising trend since 2003 with a peak at 37 in 2015.

The workers who are the most at risk of dying in an elevator accidents are those who are constructing, assembling or dismantling elevators. They represent 40% of the elevator accidents fatalities in construction. Workers who are operating heavy equipment and workers in charge of the repair and the maintenance are also at risk of dying in elevator accidents. They both represent 20% of the elevator accident fatalities suffered by construction workers.

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Protect construction workers from winter injuriesDuring the winter, New York construction workers face difficult conditions  that put them at risk of specific injuries. Contractors are responsible for their workers safety and they should take extra precautions to protect them from cold related injuries.

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) just released a serie of infographics in English and Spanish that can be used by contractors to make sure their employees are taking special precautions to protect themselves from winter injuries.

Workers should dress appropriately and contractors should make sure that they provide a heated area for their workers where they can take frequent breaks and drink plenty of warm and sweet beverages. Caffeine and of course alcohol should be avoided.