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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 New York Construction Accident

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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.

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FullSizeRender (1)The recent construction boom in New York has lead to a significant increase of hard hats dying on construction sites. These deaths could have been prevented if safety measures were proprely implemented and workers better protected.  Among the workers who died this year, 9 fell because they weren’t proprely secured and several of them were crushed by improperly braced walls.

Unfortunately while the number of new construction sites has expanded significantly,  the number of available site-safety inspectors has dropped.  According to a Daily News investigation, there were 1,171 available inspectors in NYC in 2011 compared to 1,105 in 2014, a decrease of almost 6%.  During that same period of time building permits increased by 18% from 121,000 in 2011 to 142,000 in 2014.

According to the NY Daily News, the rarity of site-safety inspectors has led to a tremendous increase of their rates. Some of them are routinely jumping to better-paying jobs in the middle of ongoing projects to snag higher pay creating dangerous conditions because there is no continuity. Retired inspectors are also coming back on the market because of the high rates but they are often too old for the job and sit behind a desk instead of actively inspecting the construction site. In some cases, contractors used fake safety inspectors. Last year the city busted two contractors who had hired a cook, a hotel bellhop and a hairdresser to sign off on safety reports.

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Three people suffered personal injury in New York after a pane of glass fell from the 17th floor of a building.  A 33 year old woman, a 23 year old woman and a 25 year old man were walking on the street near a building on Fifth Ave and East 28th Street when a pane of glass fell next to them and shattered. Construction work at the building dislodged the glass from the window. Read more in the NY Daily News

This is not the first time that non construction workers were injured or died near construction sites this year. Last June 8 people were injured after a crane dropped a giant AC unit in the street. In April  two tenants died in a suspicious explosion in an apartment building where plumbers were working on gas lines. In March a pedestrian died after being hit by flying debris from a construction site in Manhattan.

Fifth Ave and 28th Street

The intersection of Fifth Ave and East 28th Street where the accident happened, picture: courtesy of Google

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Tenants at many building in New York City and particularly rent-stabilized tenants are being endangered and harassed by negligent property owners that are allowed to start construction work after they asserted that their building was empty when filing with the NYC Department of Buildings.

Despite Mayor de Blasio’s blue print to improve the efficiency of the NYC DOB, and pledge to preserve and create rent stabilized apartment, tenants and some elected officials are complaining that the lack of enforcement has created a climate of lawlessness. A recent article in the New York Times explains  how unscrupulous  landlords and developers are defrauding the DOB with false fillings, endangering the life and safety of tenants and harassing them into leaving their apartments. The author, Mireya Navarro is providing numerous examples of cases where residents complaints were ignored or handled lightly by the Department of Buildings and owners were allowed to continue their work.

The Department of Buildings is aware of the false filling problem and has been working on upgrading their technology.  Among the improvements, the DOB announced that it was about to launch Inspection Ready, a new online tool that is supposed to  dramatically simplify compliance and reduce wait times when scheduling appointments for inspections. The system will include the ability to request and cancel appointments online, as well as view inspection results and documentation.

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 Two construction workers were injured after they fell from a building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan yesterday afternoon. The construction workers where  working on the $50 million renovation of the World Diamond   Tower  building  on Fifth Avenue  and W. 47th St.   They fell from the second floor mezzanine inside the building.  The FDNY has asked the City Department of Buildings to investigate whether a partial collapse of the mezzanine led to the fall. Read more in  The New York Daily News 

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 The construction accident happened in a famous building of the Diamond District.  Picture courtesy of Google map