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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 Tagged with construction accident NYC

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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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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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Construction Safety Conference NYC 2021How to prevent injuries and deaths caused by construction accidents in New York City is the main subject of the yearly Build Safe, Live Safe Conference organized by the NYC Department of Buildings.

The conference is digital for the second consecutive year because of the ongoing Covid19 restrictions in regards to large gatherings in indoor spaces.  The event started this Monday and continues until Friday.

The Conference which takes place during the same week as National Construction Safety Week, and OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction is free and covers a broad area of subjects related to safety and sustainability in the construction industry in New York City such as :

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2 construction workers died  and 79 were injured on the job in New York City during the first two months of 2021. One fatality occurred in  Staten Island and the other one in Manhattan. In both cases the worker fell. Last year, only one worker died in NYC construction accidents over the first 2 months of the year and the year before, no fatalities were recorded during the same period. Since 2015, the number of construction worker fatalities during the first two months of the year varied between 0 and 2. Among the 79 workers injured, 41 of them were injured in fall accidents. (click on graphs for full size)

construction accident deaths by borough February 2021
Falls remain the most common cause of fatalities for construction workers in New York City. The two fatal accidents that occurred in February were falls. Both accidents could have been prevented if adequate safety measures had been in place. The first accident took place on a construction site located at 730 5th Avenue in Manhattan. The worker who died was cleaning an area where a permanent building trash chute was being installed. He stepped on a hole cover that snapped and gave way. The worker fell to the floor below. He was transported to the hospital where he died from his injuries. The second fatal accident occurred at 144 Dunham Street in Staten Island. A roofer fell from the roof and did not survive the injuries he sustained during the fall. The inspectors found that the working permit for the construction site had expired. Multiple safety infractions were found at the site and the DOB issued a full stop work order for failure to safeguard persons and property. Roofers have the highest rate of fatalities among all categories of construction workers.

Factors in NYC fatal construction accidents February 21
79 construction workers were injured in New York City during the first two months of the year. This is the lowest number of workers injured during the first two months of the year since 2017. 48 of these accidents took place in Manhattan, 14 in Brooklyn, 11 in Queens, 4 in the Bronx and 1 in Staten Island.

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construction worker using laptopInspections by the DOT play an important role in keeping NYC construction sites safe and preventing dangerous construction accidents. The covid19  crisis has demonstrated that new online technologies can sometimes be used to replace meetings in person or visiting locations, saving time and resources.  The NYC Department of Building is testing  options to conduct Remote Video Inspections instead of sending inspectors on location.

A pilot program that started on March 19th is now being run until April 30 and proposing to Staten Island contractors who require a CO-NB-ALT1 Construction DEV inspection and to Brooklyn contractors who require a “SWO Rescission/Work Without Permit Construction ENF” inspection to do these remotely.

While doing the request for such inspections, contractors have the option to fill out a Request for a Remote Video Inspection and Attestation. The contractor and any other authorized attendees will then receive an email invitation for the remote inspection with a link to an app that attendees can download on their phone to participate in the online inspection.

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location of the blakhoe accidentA New York City pedestrian crossing the street was killed by a backhoe on Friday afternoon. 61 year old Estelle Davis was walking in a crosswalk near New Lots and Van Sinderen Avenues. She was looking down at her phone when a backhoe that was doing work nearby struck her.  The backhoe belongs to Vail Industry, an independent contractor that was hired by Con Ed to perform some work in the area. Estelle Davis was on her way to work. She was a nurse working two jobs and also serves as pastor on Sunday.

The police thought initially that the woman was killed by a hit-and-run driver but a video surveillance captured images of the accident. Investigation is still ongoing but it is not clear yet why heavy construction equipment was backing up in a pedestrian area with no protection or warning. A flag worker was present at the scene but he was positioned on the other side of the machine. (Read more in the NY Daily News )

Extensive regulations have been developed by OSHA to prevent pedestrians being run over by heavy construction equipment

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workers on suspended scaffoldRepairing facades can be dangerous. Many construction workers died or were injured while repairing facades in New York  without counting the multiple close calls where workers find themselves dangling out of suspended scaffolds  like the worker in the below video who was lucky he could get back on. Sometimes workers are left dangling in the air until FDNY comes to the rescue.

The NYC DOT recorded 4 deaths and 61 injuries related to accidents during facade work since 2015 and recently released a worker alert to raise awareness about the danger of using a suspended scaffold to repair facades.

Here are a few steps that workers should follow to reduce the risk of accident when doing facade repair

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502 construction workers were injured on NYC construction sites last year conpared to 596 in 2019 and 761 in 2018. The number of construction accident injuries in New York is at its lowest since 2015.  The COVID  lockdown and the global slowdown in the construction industry contributed to this decline.

More than half of the injuries occured on construction sites located in Manhattan (289) while Brooklyn sites had the second highest number of injured workers (107). Queens came third with 43 workers injured last year followed by the Bronx with 43 injuries. Only 2 workers were injured on Staten Island construction sites last year.

Except for Staten Island where injuries dropped from 25 in 2018 to almost none over the past two years, all boroughs saw a gradual decline of construction accident injuries. In Staten Island, 2 worker injuries were reported to the DOT in 2020 and 3 in 2019 compared to 25 in 2018. These numbers seem unusually low.