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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craneAfter two successive crane accidents in New York including one fatal, the company United Crane and Rigging was temporary barred from continuing work at 22 construction sites in the city. The NYC DOB will allow the company to restart work only after it replaces some of the employees involved in the recent accidents that occurred on July 30 in the East Village and in April in Soho. On July 30, the company had a crane working at a site located at 749 FDR Drive. The operator of the crane was lifting steel beans when the boom of the crane bent and partially collapsed. The operator then lost control of the load which struck the building before falling on the ground. Thankfully nobody was injured but investigators found that the load lifted by the crane weighted 4,400 pounds while the maximum lifting capacity was 3,700 pounds. Back in April,  34 year old Gregory Echevarria, a war hero who served several deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan died and two other construction workers were injured after a counterweight fell and crushed him during a crane installation by the same operator (see previous blog).

To be able to restart work on its 22 construction sites, United Crane and Rigging has to provide proof to the NYC Department of Buildings that the engineer of record, master rigger, lift director, assembly and disassembly and hoisting machine operators have all been replaced with new staff. Additionally the company also has to hire an independent monitor who will report to the DOB on United Crane and Rigging’s safety compliance.The negligent crane company was also hit with 5 DOB violations for:

  1. inadequate safety measures on site
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The month of April was a bad month for the construction industry in New York: 3 hard hats died in NYC construction accidents and almost 100 were injured. 2 workers died in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn.

On April 8, 51-year-old Nelson Salinas was repairing the facade on a building located  at 311 E. 50th Street near Second Ave on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He was standing on a suspended scaffold at the 7th floor of the 14 story building when a piece of coping stone that was under one of the C-Hooks fell onto him. Salinas was transported to the hospital where he died from his injuries.

Two days later a young worker fell to his death in Brooklyn. 23-year-old Erik Mendoza, a Mexican immigrant, was replacing bricks under the water tower of a 13 story building located on Pierrepont Street. Mendoza had just been hired to work for the building a week before the fatal accident occurred. He didn’t receive any site safety orientation for working on the penthouse roof, no guard-rail or fall protection were installed and the young man wasn’t provided with fall protection equipment. The owner of the building was issued a DOB violation and a Full Stop Work Order was issued.

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Since 2011 the number of construction workers who died in a fall accident increased by 45% according to the recent report “Trends of Fall Injuries and Prevention in the Construction Industry” released by the The Center for Construction Research and Training.

The report focuses mostly on data from 2011 to 2017 and found that despite a slow down in construction accident fatalities between 2016 and 2017, the number of deaths related to fall accidents continued to rise. 389 construction workers fell to their death in 2017 compared to 388 in 2016.

construction deaths and fall deaths 2003 to 2017
Among the 389 fall fatalities, 367 were to a lower level. Falls from roofs are the most common and account for approximately one third of the fall fatalities. Falls from ladders are the second most common causes of fall fatalities and account for approximately a quarter of them.  All in all falls from roofs, ladders and scaffolds account for more than 70% of all falls to a lower level.

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Construction Accident Lawyers Gair and DonadioOur NYC construction accident attorneys Anthony H. Gair and Christopher J. Donadio obtained a $4.9 million settlement for a construction worker injured in Brooklyn.

The case involved a worker who was injured while performing renovation work on a multi-family home. On the day of the incident, the worker was instructed by his foreman to remove aluminum siding from the multi-family home. In order to perform the work, the worker was required to stand on an eight foot makeshift scaffold that had been constructed with an A-frame ladder, a pump scaffold pole and a scaffold platform. The worker was unaware that the scaffold platform had not been properly secured. While the worker was performing his work on the scaffold, the unsecured scaffold platform slipped off of the pole that was supporting it, causing the worker to fall down to the ground eight feet below.

The worker was rushed to Lutheran Hospital where he was diagnosed with fractures to his spine and severe damage to his spinal cord. He was forced to undergo several surgeries as a result of his injuries.

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Trench and excavation accident prevention infographicConstruction workers who are working in trenching and excavation are exposed to extremely dangerous hazards resulting most of the time from collapse. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 130 hard hats died in trenching and excavation accidents between 2011 and 2016.

Half of these fatalities occurred between 2015 and 2016.

Among the 130 dead workers, 104 were working for the private construction industry and among them 40 died at industrial places and premises, 39 died at private residence sites and 21 died at streets or highways construction sites.

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New York Construction workersConstruction workers fatalities and injuries are on the rise in New York City. The boom in construction has lead to a shortage in experienced construction workers and as a result many contractors have been hiring workers with less or little experience without providing them proper safety training.  To reduce the number of injuries and deaths on NYC construction sites and make sure every construction worker is proprely trained about safety, the New York City Council introduced  new legislation “NYC Local Law 196”  that increases the minimum number of training hours for a construction worker to 59 hours.

What does NYC Local Law 196 mean for construction workers and contractors?

NYC Local Law 196 is being implemented in 3 phases

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location of the dangerous siteA hard hat suffered life-threatening personal injury after falling in a shaft at a NYC construction site. The worker whose identity wasn’t released was working at a site located at 19 Richardson Street in Brooklyn. He fell head first into a concrete wall and as a result suffered major head trauma.

The worker was installing masonry around the shaft of an unfinished stairwell. He was trying to pry loose a wood plank with a crowbar when the accident occurred.He fell nine feet in the shaft of the yet-to-be-installed stairway and landed on his head in the basement. He was rushed to the hospital where he is listed in critical condition. The worker wasn’t wearing any fall protection equipment and no guardrails were installed around the shaft way.

The NYC Department of Buildings issued a Stop Worker Order and the contractor, AVO Construction LLC was slapped with several violations. The construction site has a history of violations and had a stop order issued last October as well.

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According to statistics from the NYC Department of Buildings there were no fatalities at New York City construction sites during the first trimester of 2019 compared to 2 during the last trimester of 2018 and 4 during the same period a year ago. A total of 137 construction workers were injured in NYC during the first 3 months of the year compared to 158 during the previous trimester and 174 during the same period a year ago.  From April 1st 2018 to March 31st 2019, 8 construction workers died on the job, compared to 16 for the same period a year earlier. (click on graphs for full size)

Fatalities in the New York City Construction Industry
Among the 137 workers who were injured, 90 of them were working at Manhattan construction sites, 10 at Bronx sites, 23 at Brooklyn sites, 13 at Queens sites and 1 at  a Staten Island construction site.

Construction Accident Injuries NYC by boroughs
Most construction accident fatalities and deaths in New York City occur in Manhattan. Both fatalities and injuries are on a rising trend in Manhattan. However, on a positive note, it is the first time since 2015 that no hard hat death was recorded in Manhattan over a 5 month-period. 25 workers were injured at Manhattan construction sites in both January and March with a spike at 40 in February.

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New York Construction SiteAs part of its yearly Safety Week Campaign, the New York City Department of Buildings will deploy 90 safety inspectors throughout the city to inspect construction sites and educate construction workers about safety. This year the inspectors will emphasize the new Local Law 196 compliance and distribute written material in various languages. The inspectors will have various backgrounds and will come from the Department’s newly created Construction Safety Compliance and Construction Safety Enforcement units, the Cranes and Derricks Unit, the Scaffold Safety Unit, and the Special Operations Unit.

5000 construction site visit in one week

The inspectors will not only promote safety by distributing flyers but will also effectuate regular safety sweeps and take necessary actions if needed. If the construction sites visited do not comply with safety standards, contractors and developers could face up to $25 k penalties and even see their construction site temporary closed if the lives of the construction workers are being endangered. The DOB inspectors will visit approximately 5000 sites between May 6 and 10.

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harness safety equipment on scaffoldOn April 28th, Workers Memorial Day commemorated those who have suffered and died on the job. The NY construction industry accounts for a large share of the deaths and injuries suffered by workers. While fatal construction accidents have declined by 23% in New York City over the last 5 years they increased by 39% in New York State. The main reason behind this discrepancy is the difference in regulations. While stronger regulations and an increase of enforcement and control could help reduce the construction safety crisis in New York State, businesses are heavily lobbying against them.

In New York City things are not perfect either ( 3 construction workers died over a one week period last month) but long term statistics indicate that new and old policies are helping in making construction sites safer for workers. In 2019 the funding for the New York City Department of Buildings increased to 189 million compared to 107 million in 2015. The Department was able to hire 700 more employees and increase the number of work-site inspections.  The recent implementation of Local Law 196 that requires all construction workers to have a minimum amount of safety training before being able to work on a construction site in New York City will also be helpful in preventing dangerous injury and deaths.

Scaffold Safety Law