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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A 33 year old construction worker died after falling in an elevator shaft in New York. The accident occurred on 24th Street near Park Ave in Gramercy Park. Ju Cong Wu wasn’t attached to the safety line when he felt 100 feet down an elevator shaft. The man was working for U-Tek elevator and was part of a team that was installing an elevator car in a 12-story hotel project. Workers told the NY daily News that the site was non-union and that they didn’t know what caused the accident. The New York City Department of Buildings issued a stop-work order and launched an investigation. A total of 17 complaints about the site were filed last year. Among them there were two safety complaints in August, another complaint in April mentioned workers were not wearing safety equipment. In March another complaint was filed about insecure debris flying off the building. Ju Cong Wu is the first construction worker to die in New York City this year. Last year 12 workers died on construction sites in the city.

The same day a man who was renovating window fell to his death on Tuesday around 2:55 pm. 26 year old John Davie was doing some construction work with his father and another man in an apartment located on the sixth floor of a building on Saunders Street near 62nd Drive in Rego Park, Queens. John was working on the renovation of the window when he fell out of it. His father could only watch in horror and his mother collapsed outside of the building 10 minutes later after her son succumbed to his injuries.

 

 

 

 

 

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5,190 workers suffered fatal injury on the job in 2016, an increase of 7% compared to the 4,836 fatal injuries recorded in 2015. This is the first time since 2008 that the annual number of fatal work injuries is above 5,000. The fatal injury rate was on the rise as well with 3.6 per 100,000 full-time workers being injured on the job compared to 3.4 in 2015.fatal work injuries 2016

Almost half of the fatal work injuries occurred during transportation events. Among the 2,083 workers who suffered fatal injury in a transportation accident, 1,252 died in roadway accidents involving motorized land vehicles, 342 were pedestrians struck by a vehicle, 245 were involved in accidents involving motorized land vehicles, 130 in accidents involving an aircraft, 50 in accidents involving a rail vehicle, 48 in accidents involving a water vehicle and 16 in accidents involving animal transportation or pedal vehicle.

866 workers died from violence or other injuries by persons or animal. Violence at the workplace is the second most common cause of  fatal work injuries.  It increased by an alarming 23% last year.

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OSHA-inspectorTo prevent workers, especially construction workers, from being killed or injured on the job, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducts thousands of work sites inspections every year. After Trump took over some worried that OSHA power would be diminished and that workers might be exposed to riskier work conditions. So far it hasn’t been the case.

During the fiscal year 2017, OSHA conducted 32,396 inspections compared with 31,948 during the fiscal year 2016.  The average penalty per violation was $3645 during the 2017 fiscal year compared with  $3415 during the 2016 fiscal year. Between 2010 and 2015 there was an average 8.4 $1 million cases reported yearly however in 2017 there were only 6 $1 million cases.

Despite being nominated by the president to head OSHA, Scott Mugno, currently vice president for safety, sustainability and vehicle maintenance at FedEx Ground hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate yet. So far the career OSHA people are still running the show and things are not expected to change dramatically.  This is mainly because the lack of political leadership and the language and requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act are preventing deregulation.

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NYC construction workers safetyIn an effort to reduce the number of construction workers injured or killed in New York City, Mayor de Blasio introduced at the end of last year “Intro. 1447-C”, a bill requiring each construction worker to attend 40 hours minimum of safety training to be able to work at a New York construction site (see previous blog).

Therefore by March 1 2018, hard hats working on a NYC construction site will have to show that they attended at least 10 hours of safety training within the previous five years if they want to continue working. Workers can do so by attending an OSHA 10 class.  Workers can Google” OSHA 10 training NYC” to find many options available during the week as well as during the week-end.  During an OSHA 10 hours training course, workers will learn basic work place safety and how to reduce the risk of accidents. They will participate in interactive exercises and study real life cases. Subjects will include fall protection, personal protective equipment, electrocution and more.

By December 1st 2018, construction workers are required to complete OSHA 10 and 20 additional training hours specified by DOB or OSHA 30. Workers also have the option to attend a DOB-approved 100-hour training program.

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OSHA logoUnder the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, some employers in high risk sectors such as construction, manufacturing and building materials are required to report employees illnesses and injuries to OSHA. Until last year these employers reported these data manually in what was commonly called the “OSHA Log”.  The OSHA log commonly refers to:

  • the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300)
  • the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A)
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accident sceneA construction worker suffered two broken legs after he was struck by a drunk driver early Saturday morning in Staten Island, NYC. The driver, 28 year old Keith Hayes was driving his 2015 Nissan Altima on Midland Ave and made a right turn onto Hyland Boulevard. As he was turning he lost control of his car and hit several orange cones protecting a construction zone. He then struck a flag man barreled into the construction site and flipped his car into a ditch.  The flagman was part of a crew of construction workers who were repairing a water main. He was rushed to the hospital to be treated. The driver was tested for alcohol and breathalyzer showed 0.163, twice the legal limit. He was charged with drunk driving, vehicular assault and reckless endangerment.

Read more in the NY Daily News

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deblasioToo many construction workers die or are getting injured on the job in New York City. A majority of fatal construction accidents occur at non unionized sites. Most of them can be prevented if workers observe basic safety rules. Unfortunately too often construction workers are not proprely trained about the dangers of working on construction sites. Many greedy contractors or developers hire cheap immigrant workers with little to no experience who get injured or even die in accidents because they haven’t been proprely trained.

To curb the recent increase of deaths on NYC construction sites,  Mayor de Blasio signed yesterday “Intro. 1447-C” a bill requiring each construction worker to attend 40 hours of safety training to be able to work at a New York construction site. “For the hard-hats in one of our city’s most dangerous jobs, this bill will help get them home to their families at night and keep the general public safe around construction sites. I want to thank Speaker Mark-Viverito and the Council for bringing this legislation into fruition and helping making our city even healthier, fairer and safer city for all.” said Mayor de Blasio in his press release.

The bill was supported by the construction workers unions but most of the contractors and the real estate industry opposed it. They argue that it would be expensive and that the timeline was impractical.  However, according to Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn), a sponsor of the bill, the city will provide $5 million to help pay for the training for small companies and minorities.

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New York Forklift Accident Attorney Christopher DonadioOur Construction Accident Attorney Christopher J. Donadio obtained a $1.1 million settlement in a construction accident that occurred in New Jersey.

The case involved a construction accident that occurred on April 15, 2015 on a construction site in Hackensack, New Jersey. On that date, the plaintiff,who was a worker on the job site, was struck by a large forklift, suffering injuries to his left leg and right ankle.

Due to the impact, the plaintiff was taken by ambulance to Hackensack University Medical Center. At the hospital, the plaintiff was diagnosed with fractures of his left leg and right ankle. As a result of the injuries, the plaintiff required a surgery to repair his fractured left leg, and required three surgeries on his right ankle.

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Hudson Yard had many construction accidents2 construction workers died and another one was seriously injured in New York last Thursday at 2 different locations.  The first fatal accident occurred around 9:15 in the morning. 43 year old Juan Chonillo, a veteran construction worker and a father of 5 was working on the 29th floor of the 1 Seaport Residences construction site when he lost his balance. He fatally fell on the top of the scaffold bridge installed above the sidewalk. Just before the accident Chonillo was raising a concrete framework to lay concrete on the floor. According to his cousin Angel Munoz, at the time of the accident Chonillo was trying “to free the crane from the building after a cable got stuck somehow”. Chonillo who was trained and certified. He was wearing his harness but it wasn’t attached to anything. Chonillo had 10 years experience in the New York construction industry including several construction sites in the Financial district. The day before the accident the DOB issued a partial  stop work order for the unsafe operation of a crane. It appeared that the crane had been installed without a permit. It is not exactly clear so far if the death of the worker is directly related to the unsafe installation of the crane. Prior to the accident the construction site was hit with 28 complaints including several failures  to safeguard workers and property and a failure to provide a concrete safety manager at the time of an inspection. Chonillo was employed by the contractor Pizzarotti IBC. The construction site of the luxury all-glass residential building is located at 161 Maiden Lane.

Later on during the same day, two other construction workers fell 36 feet from a bucket lift at a construction site located at 401 9th Ave. The buildiing is part of the Hudson Yards development. One of the workers died and the other one was seriously injured. He was rushed to the hospital. According to NBC New York, the two workers were wearing a safety harness but were not attached to the bucket. It is the second time that a worker fell to his death at this location. Last June, Roger Vail was surveying the 16th floor of the building when he stood on a wooden platform that gave way (see previous blog).  The site was temporarily shut down in June and then re-opened after a safety plan was submitted to the city. Read more in the NY Daily News

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laguardia airportTo prevent New York construction workers from being injured during the redevelopment of the LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal Building Redevelopment Project, OSHA recently signed a strategic partnership agreement with Skanska- Walsh Joint Venture,  the company in charge of the $4 billion redevelopment project. This partnership was signed to ensure enhanced workplace safety and health for the 1,600 workers hired for this gigantic construction project. OSHA partnerships are unique programs during which the agency works  with private companies and organizations to eliminate serious hazards and enhance safety and health practices at the workplace.  According to a recent press release from OSHA, the partnership that includes federal officials, private companies and labor organizations will provide education and training as well as monitoring of workplace safety during the entire  length of the project. As part of the partnership with Skanska, OSHA representatives will be included in meetings, serve as liaison and resources, assist in training, provide assistance on demand and inspect the various construction sites on a regular basis to make sure all safety standards and practices are complied with. “The OSHA and Skanska- Walsh partnership will allow us to focus on preventing work-related fatalities and injuries, and controlling or eliminating serious workplace hazards,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York. “It will also establish a foundation for effective job site safety and health programs serving approximately 250 subcontractors and their employees at LaGuardia Airport through the project’s scheduled completion in 2022.”

ONLY UNION TRAINED CONSTRUCTION WORKERS

Worker safety has been a top concern for Skanska since the beginning of the project. Among the 1,600 workers  that will be working on the different phases of the project ( finance, design, construction, operation, and maintenance), 1,200 are construction workers. Skanska already announced last May that hired workers will be unionized (See NY Daily News article). The company signed a contract with the Building and Construction Trades Council which will manage the 16 different construction zones. For Skanska USA Building president Richard Kennedy, the contract with the Building and Construction Trades Council should increase safety standards during the LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal Building Redevelopment Project  as all workers will be union trained in the latest standards and practices.