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Articles Tagged with new york elevator accident

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food-emporium-Hells-KitchenA worker died in an elevator accident at a Manhattan grocery store last week. 49 year old Maria Sanchez, a mother of four children who worked two jobs to support her family and her mom in Mexico City was killed by an elevator that was illegally installed in the building of the Food Emporium in Hell’s Kitchen.

Last Tuesday afternoon, Sanchez was in the basement of the Food Emporium supermarket located at 452 W. 43rd Street in Hell’s Kitchen. She was loading a small dumbwaiter elevator with merchandise when suddenly the elevator moved up and crushed her head. Sanchez suffered major head trauma and died at the scene of the accident.

The elevator was illegally installed and had recently been repaired after previous malfunctions

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construction site where the elevator accident occurredA 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”.

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La Reguera DominicanaA man died in a New York elevator accident on Saturday. Jose Fernandez, 43  from the Dominican Republic was a worker at the Discount Store La Reguera Dominicana on 182nd Street in Manhattan. The man was loading merchandise into the freight elevator in the basement when the accident happened. For some unknown reason, the freight elevator suddenly moved up and trapped his head. The Department of Buildings is investigating the cause of the accident.

The online property profile overview of the NYC Department of Buildings has no record for the elevator. The freight elevator which had no doors was installed illegally a year ago, without a permit when a previous auto repair shop was turned into a discount store.

The building has an open violation for illegal occupancy and last year 3 complaints were opened accusing the building owner of performing renovations without a valid work permit.

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5 people died and 51 were injured in elevator accidents in New York City  last year. Last year in October a man was crushed to death as he tried to escape an elevator at the Espoir Building in Brooklyn (see previous blog). Trying to escape a stalled elevator is not a good idea says the NYC Department of Buildings in a new advertising campaign  being launched today. The campaign entitled “Stay Safe. Stay Put.” is designed to remind New Yorkers that if  they are stuck in an elevator, the safest place to be is inside the car.

Every day millions of people use the 71,000 elevators  existing in New York City.  New York City elevators are relatively safe. The number of people  injured in an elevator accident in the city decreased from 105 in 2007 to 51 last year.

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50 BroadwayAn elevator worker was seriously injured in an elevator accident in New York. The man was working on an elevator in a building in downtown Manhattan when the accident happened. Witnesses said they heard the desperate man screaming for help. The man was working on a newly installed elevator at 50 Broadway in the Financial Distrcit. He was employed by  Centennial Elevator Industries. Firefighters who were called to the rescue were seen transporting the arm in ice in an attempt to preserve it. The worker was transported to the hospital in critical condition.  According to the Post doctors have been trying to reattach his arm.

Read more in the New York Post

Picture of the location of the accident courtesy of Google Map


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A few days after a DOI investigation revealed that NYCHA knew about faulty elevators that killed a resident and injured another, the NYC Housing Authority announced that Ken Buny, the head of the elevator division was fired. Five NYCHA employees who failed to communicate that the elevators were malfunctioning were also reassigned. They are all facing disciplinary charges that could also result in firing. (Read more in the NY Daily News)

The investigation revealed that NYCHA knew about the faulty elevator before the fatal accident happened but because of a communications  breakdown nobody went to fix it.  On December 24 2015, the NYCHA’s Customer Contact Center (“CCC”) received a phone call from a resident at the  NYCHA’s Boston Road Plaza senior building in the Bronx to inform them about a very dangerous malfunctioning elevator. NYCHA didn’t take immediate action to put the elevator out of service. An hour and half  later, 84 year old Olegario Pabon was critically injured when the elevator drifted upward as he was trying to get in. He died 3 days later from his injuries.  The investigation also found that the NYCHA senior management learned about the accident four days later. Another man was seriously injured in a similar accident that happened in another NYCHA building less than a month before.

In both accidents, the DOI found that brake monitors that should have automatically shut down the elevators were not functioning. After this discovery the DOI checked the 1,080 NYCHA elevators equipped with brake monitors and found that 80 (more than 7%) of them were not functioning.

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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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Brown25 year old Stephen Hewett Brown was killed by a malfunctioning elevator in New York seconds after he saved a mother from being killed herself. New Yorkers moved by the terrible accident helped the family raise almost $14,000 for his funeral. On New Year’s Eve, Brown was in an elevator at 131 Broome on his way to a party on the 25th floor of the building. When the elevator reached the third floor, 43 year old Erude Sanchez stepped out to exit. At the same time the elevator started moving down. Brown immediately understood what happened and pushed the mother into the hallway, protecting her from injury and maybe death. Unfortunately seconds after he pushed the woman to safety he was pinned between the elevator’s roof and the third floor entrance. According to the 10 witnesses who were also trapped in the car, the elevator doors kept opening and closing on him when he was screaming that he couldn’t breath.

According to the New York City Department of Building records, the elevator at 131 Broom Street was defective at the time of the accident. The building had 3 open violations for failure to correct defects in the elevator going back to 2012. Last August, the owner of the building, Grand Street Guild East HDFC, received two Environmental Control Board Violations for failure to maintain the elevator in a code complaint manner. the hearing on that case was schedule the same day of the fatal elevator accident.

Dashia Impaeriali who was the president of the building tenants association from 2006 to 2011 told the NY Daily news that she wasn’t surprised by the accident. She explained that the elevator would sometimes jump several floors and go up and down without reason.

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A construction worker died after he fell down an elevator shaft in New York. The accident happened yesterday at the beginning of the afternoon at the construction site of a future hotel located at 577 9th Avenue near 41st Street in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan.

According to DNA Info the construction worker  was not wearing a harness at the time of the accident. He was working on the fourth floor near the elevator shaft which, at the time, was just a hole that extended all the way to the ground. He fell in and landed on his back. The man who was 30 years old was transported to the hospital in critical condition. He later died.

A few months ago the general contractor for the construction site, BRF Construction Corp, was fined for failing to secure the site after a construction worker was spotted on a 15 to 20 foot wall without a harness. BRF employed non union workers.

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A man working in an elevator shaft was crushed to death by an empty elevator that moved down 3 floors at 75th West End Ave on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, NYC. A resident of the building complained that “elevators have been a mess in the building for years”. The building received 12 elevator violations since 2003 and 3 major violations for poor maintenance from last year are still open. The Brodsky Organization which owns and manages the building says it was in the process of modernizing the elevators.