Last week a giant concrete slab fell from the 26th floor of a skyscraper construction site and crashed into the roof of a sixth story building next to it, destroying the studio apartment of 34 year old Steven Jones. Jones was taking a shower at the time of the accident. If he would have been in his kitchen instead he would be dead. Instead miraculously he only suffered minor injuries. While he was in the shower, Jones heard what he thought was an explosion and walked out of his bathroom to discover a huge hole in his ceiling and thick dust all over. Jones tried to get out of his apartment but the debris was blocking the entrance as well as the fire escape. Firefighters came to the rescue. They were able to clean the debris and get him out of his apartment safely while the rest of the building was evacuated. The slab of concrete fell after the the 26th floor of the skyscraper under construction at 1059 Third Avenue collapsed. The Department of Buildings issued a full stop work order for the site. According to their records, a similar accident previously occurred a month earlier and the DOB had already issued a partial stop work order between floors 26th and 30th after debris fell and broke the glass roof of a nearby townhouse. The stop order was lifted after an inspection determined that the violation had been corrected. Apparently the problem was still there.
Construction elevator dangling 30 stories on top of sidewalk
On Monday another freaky accident occurred at a super skyscraper construction site located on 57th Street near Sixth Avenue. An exterior elevator came loose on the 58th Street side of the building and began smashing against the building sending glass and other debris onto the street below. The police closed the entire area for hours. Tenants were evacuated from the top floors of a nearby building. Customers were stuck in restaurants for hours until the heavy elevator that was dangling from the scaffolding 3o stories above the street was removed. Again the worst was avoided and nobody was injured as the cold kept many New Yorkers inside and very few pedestrians were in the street when the accident occurred around 8:00 pm.
Last June, two construction workers were seriously injured in a mini-crane accident in New York because of the negligence of their contractor, Western Waterproofing Co. Inc from St. Louis (see previous blog).
The accident occurred after two supervisors working for the contractor rented a mini-crane, installed it on the fourth floor of the construction site and instructed an untrained worker to lift heavy curtain wall panels with it. The load was too heavy and the crane tipped and fell four stories down. Two workers, Jorge Delgado and Christopher Jackson were seriously injured during the accident.
Last week, OSHA cited the Missouri contractor for exposing employees to serious injuries and proposed a $155,204 fine against the company.
A man was injured in the unexpected collapse of a building that was being demolished by a construction company in Harlem. Last Thursday a large interior section of the three-story Mount Ararat Baptist Church located on 316 West 135th Street in Harlem unexpectedly collapsed as the building was undergoing what was supposed to be a planned and controlled demolition.
One of the construction workers suffered minor injury. A man on a motorcycle who was driving near the building at the time of the accident was injured after he was hit by debris. The man suffered shoulder injuries ans some cuts but his life is not endangered. According to the firefighter the motorist was lucky to be alive. If he would have driven there half a second earlier he would have been crushed to death.
Read more in the Amsterdam News
In June 2018 two construction workers were seriously injured in a mini crane accident in New York because of the negligence of their supervisors. These supervisors were indicted last week for their reckless behavior. They face second degree assault and reckless endangerment.
The accident occurred on June 25th at a Harlem construction site located on East 126th Street near Lexington Avenue. Workers hired by Western Waterproofing were installing a facade for a building made of stainless steel and giant glass panels. To help them install the panels, 41 year old Timothy Braico, a senior branch manager, rented a mini crane that was installed on the fourth floor of the building. None of the workers in the team had proper training to use the crane and no one knew how to proprely set it up. After the crane was installed without an approved DOB engineering plan specifying crane use and tethering, the site supervisor, 39 year old Terrence Edwards, ordered an untrained iron-worker to operate the crane. The crane maximum load was 880 pounds. As workers were hoisting a 1500-pound glass panel onto the facade of the building, the crane toppled and crashed to the ground. 39 year old Christopher Jackson, was ejected in the air and fell 3-story to the ground. He suffered traumatic brain injury that affected his capacity to talk and walk. Another worker, 37 year old Jorge Delgado was struck in the back and suffered severe spinal injury that affected his mobility.
In New York, construction sites using mini cranes have to follow specific procedures in order to legally use them. A permit application that includes detailed plans as well as the proof that the contractor hired a certified operator and certified rigging crew must be submitted to the DOB in order to use a mini crane.
Dilber Kubic a contractor accused of manipulating the gas line that led to the fatal explosion of a building in the lower east side in March 2015 is back at it. The contractor who was arrested after the accident is now doing illegal construction work in Harlem. Kubic is due to appear in court on March 23rd for the 2nd Ave accident.
MULTIPLE VIOLATIONS OPENED AGAINST THE BUILDING
According to people living in the building on West 154St in Harlem, Kubic was doing demolition work in 3 one-bedroom units to convert them into 2 two-bedrom units. Kubic doesn’t have any permit for this job. A broker for the building told the NY Daily News that he stopped working for the building after the alleged illegal work started. He also filed a complaint that is being investigated by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. Investigators were unable to enter the building on Thursday and posted a notice for the landlord to get back to them. Journalists from the NY Daily News were able to get in and talk to tenants. They said contractors gutted all the walls in the apartments making terrible noise. The Daily News was also contacted by Joe Yusef owner of Allstate Home Remodeling who told the Newspaper that he hired Kubic to work for him. The News also called the landlord who replied that he didn’t know which apartments the News journalist was talking about. The building conditions are scary and tenants are dealing with mold, roaches and crumbling infrastructure. There are 18 violations opened with the Department of Buildings including 2 for defective elevators. In the past the landlord paid a $10,000 fine for not submitting papers to renovate the exterior of the building. He has a history of non-compliance. Read more in the NY Daily News
2 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
A construction worker suffered minor injuries after collapsing at a construction site in Manhattan yesterday morning. The man was in a hard to reach area of a construction site located at 348 West 14th Street, downtown Manhattan. The accident occurred around 9:00 am. Because of concerns about the stability of the building, firefighters had to use a tower ladder to get access to the worker and to remove him from the location where he passed out. The worker was then transported to the hospital. So far, the exact causes of the accident are unknown. However above average temperatures may have been a factor. (read more in the NY Daily News)
Every summer in America, thousands of construction workers are becoming ill because of the heat. Some even die. Here are a few guidelines that employers should make sure to follow if they want to prevent their workers from getting ill when the temperature rises:
- New and temporary workers should always be closely monitored when starting to work during warm weather as they are the most affected by heat illnesses. Heat illnesses often occur during the first 3 days of work in the heat. One third of the fatal accidents related to heat occur on the first day of work in the heat.
A construction worker was found dead in an elevator on a New York construction site on Sunday morning. The man was identified as 53-year-old Stephen Simpson, a native of Jamaica who previously served in the army and was currently working for Patriot Electric. The last time Simpson was seen alive was last Saturday afternoon at 3:00 pm. Simpson had just finished his shift at a construction site at 555 Ten, a 56-story Manhattan luxury condominium building located at West 41st Street and 10th Avenue. As he was about to leave the site with his co-workers he told them that he forgot some personal effects and had to go back inside to retrieve them. That’s the last time he was seen alive.
A security guard found his body at 7:00 am on Sunday. His head was trapped between the elevator floor and the elevator door frame of the 5th floor. Investigators believe that Simpson used the elevator and that while he was riding it, the building power was shut off by the crew leaving the site. Simpson got stuck inside the elevator. It is unclear why Simpson didn’t use his cell phone to call for help. Instead, he forced the elevator doors open. However as he was climbing out of the elevator, the cabin moved upward and crushed him against the door frame. Investigators don’t know yet if he died immediately as his body was only found the following morning. His body is now at the City medical examiner’s office where they will determine the time and cause of the death.
Stephen Simpson was married to Crystal Simpson and they were supposed to celebrate their son’s birthday. He was supposed to take his son and his wife to the store to buy a bicycle for his son. Stephen and Crystal were married for 10 years. His wife told the News “He loved our son to death and he’d get him anything, he’d do anything for him”.
A construction worker died in New York on Monday. The accident happened at Hudson Yards, a gigantic construction site in Manhattan. It is not the first time that a construction worker fell to his death on this site. Another deadly fall occurred at Hudson Yards in August 2015.
Around 6:40 pm on Monday evening, 62-year-old Roger Vail of Montgomery was doing a survey on the 16th floor of the 400 W. 33rd St building when a wooden platform he was standing on gave way. The man fell 10 stories and landed on the 6th floor. He died at the scene of the accident. Vail was hired by the company 50 States engineering which itself had been hired by Tishman Construction. Sadly, he was working on the installation of a fall prevention system.
Fortunately, in New York a construction worker is mot limited to Workers compensation. Pursuant To Section 240(1) of The New York State Labor law (the Scaffold Law) the next of kin of the worker are entitled to bring what is known as a Third Party action against Tishman and the owner of the construction site. At least they will be able to receive compensation for this tragedy.