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Articles Tagged with New York Construction Accident

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1229 45th streetA 21 year old worker died in a construction accident in Brooklyn NYC. Yesterday afternoon Alex Santizo from Queens was working on the construction site of a two-family townhouse on 45th street near 12th Ave in Borough Park, Brooklyn. He was on the second floor of the house when the roof collapsed. Santizo was hit by debris then he tumbled into an airshaft and landed two stories below in the basement.  The young man died from his injuries at the hospital. Records from the New York City DOB indicate that the building located at 1229 45th street had a total of 11 complaints that all had been resolved before the accident happened. The construction site was also the subject of 13 violations with 7 of them still open.  Read more in the NY Daily News 

Picture source: Google map

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Tappan Zee Bridge3 men died after their tugboat crashed into a barge at a Tappan Zee Bridge construction site on Saturday morning.

63 year old Paul Amon from New Jersey, 29 year old Timothy Conklin from Long Island and 56 year old Harry Hernandez from Staten Island were the 3 crew members of the  tugboat “Specialist” that sank Saturday morning after crashing into a stationary construction barge belonging to Tappan Zee Constructors . The rescuers were able to find the bodies of Amon and Conklin. Searches to find Hernandez who is presumed dead were suspended sunday night according to The Associated Press.

The accident happened Saturday morning. The “Specialist” was one of three tugboats that were pushing a crane barge from Albany to New Jersey. The “Specialist” was located at the right of the barge while the second tugboat was on the left and the third one in the back. As they arrived at the Tappan Zee Bridge construction site, the “Specialist” hit a stationary construction barge. Before the accident happened, the crew sent a radio message saying “”We are too close. We have to move left,” but it was too late. The tugboat sank 40 feet within minutes with the 3 men on board. The tugboat also leaked into the Hudson some of the 5000 gallons of fuel that were on board at the time of the accident.

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After a construction worker died and four others suffered personal injury in a construction accident in Brooklyn, NYC, in 2011, the negligent “special instructor” who failed to perform crucial safety inspections on the site of the accident had his license revoked by the New York City Department of Buildings on Friday.

Back in 2011, Steven Schneider, an engineer, was hired as a special safety inspector on the construction site of a 14-unit condo building in Brighton Beach. As part of his duties Schneider was required by the code to perform structural tests such as testing of steel and masonry construction, structural stability and underpinning of adjacent buildings. Investigations show that Schneider never performed any of these tests and therefore didn’t notice that construction workers  had improperly poured concrete on unstable steel structures. This gross negligence led to the collapse of several floors of the building.  During the accident several workers were buried in the debris. Among them was Ivan Lende, a 54 year old worker from the Ukraine who died in the accident. Four of his colleagues were injured. Investigation results also show that Schneider  was unable to provide inspection documentation at many other NYC sites where he had been hired as a safety instructor. Not only did Schneider have his license revoked by the NYC DOB but his case was also referred to the state for “further disciplinary action”.

The DOB also announced Friday the revocation of the plumbing license of Andrew Trombetta. Andrew Trombetta is a master plumber who was involved in the East Village gas explosion that killed two people and injured many others in March 2015. Andrew Trobetta rented his licensed to the unaccredited plumber who installed the illegal hook up that led to the explosion. Earlier this month he was charged with falsifying inspection reports while four other people were charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

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deblasioA week after a man died in a crane collapse in New York, the Mayor announced that the city will kick off a massive inspection blitz of construction sites and quadruple penalties for serious violations of safety on construction sites. The construction boom in the city has led to a dramatic increase of construction accidents. Last year there were 433 accidents, an increase of 75%  compared to 2014. Before the boom in 2009 there were  218 accidents, 98% less than in 2015.  According to DOT investigations, most of the construction accidents that happened last year in New York City could have been prevented if the contractor had simply followed the existing safety rules. Unfortunately too often contractors and developers are cutting corners and putting the life of their workers at risk to increase their profit.

Despite the cold weather Mayor de Blasio held his press conference in front of a East Village Construction site where a construction worker fell to his death on Christmas Eve. 33 year old Luis Alberto Pomboza, was working on the renovation of a multi-family  townhouse at 356 East 8th Street. Pomboza was demolishing a wall when a large portion of the wall fell on him and caused him to fall 4 stories. An Ecuadorian immigrant and father of 5, Pomboza was transported to the hospital in critical condition. He later died there from serious head trauma.  The construction site superintendent who was legally required to be on the construction site to ensure the safety of workers and the public wasn’t there when the accident happened. De Blasio indicated that last year 70% of the construction accidents in New York City occurred in buildings with 10 stories or less. Therefore the investigation blitz  that starts this week will focus on these types of construction sites. Inspectors will target contractors with bad safety records and working on buildings lower than 10 stories as well as all construction sites higher than 15 stories. The DOB will inspect a total of 1,500 job sites in the 90 coming days.

Fines for “serious failures to safeguard construction sites” will increase from $2,400 to $10,000 and if the construction site is lacking a site superintendent the penalty will reach a maximum of $25,000 instead of $5,000. Additionally starting in July, superintendents will be required for all major construction projects at buildings under 10 stories. Superintendents will be required to log daily reviews of site safety.

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A construction worker suffered critical personal injury after being hit by a block of concrete that fell on his head. The accident happened at a building demolition site located at 317 Madison Ave between 42nd and 43rd street in Midtown Manhattan. The worker was on the 20th floor of the building when he was hit by falling debris.  The worker lost consciousness during the accident. He was transported to the hospital where he was listed in critical condition. It is not the first time that an accident happened on this specific demolition site. Last July two construction workers were injured in a ceiling collapse.

Read more in the NY Daily News

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A construction worker fell to his death in New York last Thursday. The 62 year old man was working on a construction site located on East 107th Street near Lexington in East Harlem New York. He was standing on a fire escape at the back of the building when the accident happened. Another worker who was standing on a nearby scaffold was passing some equipment to him when he lost his balance and fell six stories. The man wasn’t wearing any safety equipment. He died at the scene of the accident.   Falls are the number one cause of death in Construction in the US. Almost 300 construction workers are dying every year after falling on the job.

Read more in the NY Daily News

 

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Between 2005 and 2015 claims related to people injured in construction accidents related to falling bricks or other debris in New York City have been decreasing by more than half. This decline is mostly related to the city creating stricter and stricter laws to protect New Yorkers from construction accidents.  Among the laws enacted by the city, one them requires the erection of sidewalk sheds to protect pedestrians from falling debris.  According to a recent article in Crains, there are now 9000 sheds all over the city compared to 3,500 in 2003. Some of these sheds can remain for years as some building owners find it cheaper to pay  a fine and keep the shed rather than paying to renovate the facade of their buildings. Some New Yorkers are complaining that the sheds not only cut off sunlight, create a safety hazard and hurt businesses but also accumulate garbage and serve as a shelter for loiterers. The need for sidewalk sheds or overhead protection, as they are also known at active construction sites in New York is critical to the safety of both workers and the public. The comment in the article that, “And developers may not be inclined to spend on nicer sheds because of the growing cost of settling lawsuits brought under New York state Labor Law 240/241, better known as the scaffold law. The statute holds building owners and contractors 100% liable for any gravity-related accident in which they are at least partially at fault,” misses the point. If it were not for these statutes there would be thousands of serious injuries and fatalities each year in NYC, since to cut costs many construction companies mostly on non-union jobs would cut costs and not be inclined to have any sheds. which was the case when the Labor Law was not strictly enforced. With regard to building owners who install sheds rather than performing needed facade renovation work, the City must start to actively track the issuance of shed permits. An owner should not be issued a permit and fail to commence construction within 90 days of issuance. Escalating fines should be levied against the owner for failing to commence construction. Further, the City must start to ease the antiquated process of filing and approving construction permits. Although it is a difficult situation one must remember that Safety comes first.

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A construction worker suffered critical injury in a ladder accident in New York.  The accident happened on a construction site located on W. 17th Street near Sixth Ave in the Flatiron district in Manhattan. The hard hat was standing on a ladder, installing sheet rock on a ceiling frame when the accident happened. The worker who was not wearing a harness fell 50 feet down an elevator shaft and was impaled on steel rebar. The pieces of rebar pierced his abdomen, back, thigh, buttock and groin. Flagrant construction site safety violations are to blame for the accident. According to a primary investigation by the New York City Department of Buildings, the hard hat was not wearing a mandatory security harness. Adding to that, the elevator shaft wasn’t covered and there were no orange safety caps on the top of the rebar. This is the reason it is so important to fight against any changes in Section 240(1) of the New York State Labor Law which hold owners, general contractors and others liable for injures resulting from a lack of safety devices in height related accidents.

The construction site has a history of unsafe working conditions. The owner and developer, 34 17th Street Project LLC, was fined last August for “failure to maintain the building in a code complaint manner” and  unsafe or improper use of elevator or hoisting equipment at the same location. The violation indicated that the hoistway doors wer not secured “causing an immediate hazard that could cause someone to fall down the shaftway”.  In November nothing had changed and 34 17th Street Project LLC was fined for “failing to certify correction of an immediately hazardous violation”.

New Empire Builder Corp, the general contractor who is managing the site also has a history of violations. In 2014 OSHA inspectors responded to a complaint at 286 Spring Street, New York, NY. They found hard hats working in extremely unsafe conditions.  Some workers were standings on scaffolding resting on bricks. A worker was standing 10 feet above ground on a scaffold with no fall safety equipment while raising material on a pulley. Furthermore other workers were at risk of being electrocuted while using an ungrounded electric cement mixer. The contractor was fined  $19,600.

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4 construction workers at a construction site in upper Manhattan, NYC were injured in a scaffold accident on Saturday afternoon including two seriously.  The construction accident happened while the workers were “repointing” the facade of a six-story building located on Seanman Ave near Beak Street . The four hard hats were standing on  a scaffold when a cable holding it snapped. The scaffold collapsed and the four men were left hanging in the air, saved by their safety harnesses.  Two of the construction workers suffered serious injury. One of them was struck in the head by the snapping cables. The two others only suffered minor injuries. This accident demonstrates that it is essential that construction workers performing work at heights be provided with fall protection including safety harnesses and lanyards.

Minutes later the FDNY were on location and were able to pull two of the construction workers to safety through the windows. They saved the third one with the help of an aerial ladder and pulled the fourth one onto the the roof with a rope.

The 4 workers were transported to the hospital. The NY Department of Buildings is investigating the accident.  Read more in the NY Daily News 

 

 

 

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Qualified and competent OSHA inspector OSHA construction site safety inspectors play a very important role in preventing  workers from being injured or dying on construction sites. Unfortunately with the recent boom in the construction business in New York City, these inspectors are very hard to find and their rates have been increasing significantly.

Certified Site safety inspectors have taken a safety course with OSHA and must meet specific criteria before receiving a OSHA certification. However these last years many  unscrupulous workers just blew off the classes and presented falsified OSHA cards to contractors in order to become site safety inspectors.

Since the beginning of the year the City has been cracking down on these workers.