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 Scaffold Accidents

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Domikick Deluca, a Yellow hard hat25 year old construction worker, died after falling from scaffolding yesterday.  The young worker was doing facade work at the Butler Houses on Webster Ave in Claremont in the Bronx when he lost his footing and fell 15 feet . He landed on his head and was transported to the hospital unresponsive and with severe trauma. He was declared dead when he arrived at the hospital. This construction worker is the 8th person to die in a construction accident in New York City since the beginning of the year (see previous blog) .

Read more in the NY Daily News

 

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A scaffold accident caused by an equipment failure of the traction hoist brake mechanism that supports one side of the rig, left two window washers dangling outside the 69th floor of One World Trade Center in Manhattan, NYC which opened for business last week.

The two window washers, Juan Lizama and Juan Lopez, were trapped for two hours until firefighters were able to rescue them. The two workers were brought to safety through a hole that firefighters cut in one of the windows.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the accident. It is not the first time that Tractel Group, the company that supplied the scaffold, has had an accident with its material. The company was fined $21,000 in 2008 after one worker died in an accident during which a scaffold that the Tractel Group had previously repaired gave way. Last June in midtown Manhattan two other window washers were left dangling 500 feet above ground after a scaffold built by the Tractel Group snapped. They were rescued by firefighters. Read more on the AP website

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Thankfully nobody was hurt in a scaffold accident that happened early this morning in New York. 2 construction workers were being hoisted up on a scaffold when it apparently became unhinged on one side. The two men were between the 12th and 13th floor of a 20 story building located ner Lexington on 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan. Rescuers were able to pull the workers to safety through the windows.

Read more on NBC New York website

Click here to read more about Scaffold Accidents in NYC

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Labor Law 240 known as The Scaffold Law protects New York construction workers from elevation related construction accidents. Recently the construction industry and real estate developers have been making another legislative push in Albany to change the law to their advantage. In response to this push, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said last week in an interview with the Crain’s editorial board that he had no intention to change the law. Cuomo said that changes to Labor Law 240 were not a top priority for business interests or for him.

Cuomo also added that the law couldn’t be changed because of the strength of its supporters, particularly the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. The trial lawyers as well as immigrant rights and community organizations support the law because even though it is not perfect it remains the only way to make sure construction workers are adequately protected from dangerous accidents.

Read the Crain’s article

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scaffold.jpg New York Labor Law Section 240 or Scaffold Law was enacted more than 100 years ago to protect construction workers from elevated work related accidents. It holds general contractors, owners and others liable if unsafe conditions at the job site lead to a worker’s injury or death (to learn more about NY Labor Law 240 see recent presentation by NY Construction Accident Attorney Anthony Gair)

The construction industry has been trying to repeal and amend this law since it was created and the last attack came with a report entitled “The Costs of Labor Law 240 on New York’s economy and Public Infrastructure” and published by the The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, the public policy research arm of the State University of New York. The report uses questionable statistic methodologies to blame The Scaffold Law for creating more accidents and more injuries.

The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) discovered that the report was actually commissioned by the New York Civil Justice Institute, a front group that was specifically created for this purpose by the Lawsuits Reform Alliance of New York who paid $82,800 for it. The Lawsuits Reform Alliance of New York is well known for lobbying against laws protecting plaintiffs in favor of the construction industry and other corporate interests. The CPD and the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) just published a paper entitled “Fatally Flawed: Why the Rockefeller Institute’s Scaffold Law Report Doesn’t add up

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Dangerous%20Construction%20Site.jpg Among all construction accidents, falls are the leading cause of death. Contractors are required by law to protect their employees from falling by supplying and ensuring the use of legally required safeguards that can prevent personal injuries and save lives.

Flintlock Construction Services LLC, the Mamaroneck-based general contractor for the construction of a 23-story hotel in Midtown Manhattan at 325 W. 33rd St. (see picture) did not follow these rules and OSHA proposed a penalty of of $249,920 and cited for seven violations of OSHA‘s fall protection and scaffolding standards that involved workers exposed to scaffolding accidents and potential fatal falls of up to 26 feet. Flintlock failed to provide and ensure the use of fall protection for workers on the scaffold. The scaffold lacked a safe means of access, the work platforms were not fully planked and the scaffold was not tied off to restrain it from tipping. Flintock also failed to provide training on the hazards associated with erecting scaffolds and failed to have a competent person determine the feasibility of providing fall protection for workers erecting and dismantling the scaffolding. Additionally a scaffold walkway was found too narrow and an anchorage was found inadequate for the fall protection system.

3 other contractors were also cited. V&P Altitude Corp., a Brooklyn-based siding contractor was cited for lack of fall protection; no safe access to the scaffolding; not fully planking the scaffold platforms; failing to tie off the scaffolding; and not locking mobile scaffold wheels and casters. SMK Associates, a masonry contractor, was cited for electrical hazards and failing to provide eye and face protection and Maspeth Steel Fabricators Inc failed to provide training on the hazards of working on scaffolds.

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A new version of the Construction Chart Book: The U.S. Construction Industry and its workers was recently released by the Center for Construction Research and Training.

Here are some of the most interesting findings and graphs related to Fatal and Nonfatal Injuries:

– Electrical Power-Line installers are the most at risk to die in a construction accident

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Continue reading →

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Since 2008 construction workers at Bekset Mansonry (NJ) have been exposed to scaffolding hazards that could have lead to serious injuries and fatal accidents.

Cross%20braces%20prohibited.pngThe construction company was cited for 3 repeat violations (lack of fall protection, use of scaffold cross braces to access the scaffold’s walking and working area and missing toe boards) and 5 serious violations including hazardous scaffolding and lack of proper training on scaffold and portable extension ladder set up.

65 percent of the construction industry, work on scaffolds frequently. Protecting these workers from scaffold-related accidents would prevent 4,500 construction accident injuries and 50 deaths every year, at a saving for American employers of $90 million dollars in workdays not lost, according to OSHA.

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In a New York construction accident case in which a worker suffered injury when he fell from a scaffold The Court rejected the recalcitrant worker defense. In Mazurett v. Rochester City School District, decided by The New York Appellate Division, 4th Department on October 7, 2011, the construction worker sustained injury when he fell from a collapsing scaffold at a construction site. In affirming the granting of summary judgment for the plaintiff on his 240(1) claim the Court rejected the defense that the plaintiff was a recalcitrant worker whose conduct was the sole proximate cause of the accident holding;

“Plaintiffs met their initial burden of establishing a prima facie violation of Labor Law § 240 (1). The fact that the scaffold collapsed “is sufficient to establish as a matter of law that the [scaffold] was not so ‘placed . . . as to give proper protection’ to plaintiff” pursuant to the statute (Dean v City of Utica, 75 AD3d 1130, 1131; see Tapia v Mario Genovesi & Sons, Inc., 72 AD3d 800, 801; see also Cantineri v Carrere, 60 AD3d 1331). In opposition to the motion, defendant failed to raise a triable issue of fact whether plaintiff’s “own conduct, rather than any violation of Labor Law § 240 (1), was the sole proximate cause of his accident” (Cahill v Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Auth., 4 NY3d 35, 40). We reject defendant’s contention that plaintiff was a recalcitrant worker whose own actions were the sole proximate cause of the accident. Although defendant submitted evidence that plaintiff was instructed to use a more stable scaffold and to use a ladder to ascend the scaffold, defendant failed to submit any evidence that plaintiff refused to use a particular scaffold or ladder that was provided to him. “The mere presence of [other safety devices] somewhere at the work site” does not satisfy defendant’s duty to provide appropriate safety devices (Zimmer v Chemung County Performing Arts, 65 NY2d 513, 524, rearg denied 65 NY2d 1054; see Williams v City of Niagara Falls, 43 AD3d 1426; Whiting v Dave Hennig, Inc., 28 AD3d 1105, 1106). Even assuming, arguendo, that plaintiff was negligent, we conclude that his own conduct cannot be deemed the sole proximate cause of the accident inasmuch as plaintiffs established that a statutory violation was a proximate cause of plaintiff’s injuries (see Blake v Neighborhood Hous. Servs. of N.Y. City, 1 NY3d 280, 290; Calderon v Walgreen Co., 72 AD3d 1532, appeal dismissed 15 NY3d 900).”