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Arye, Lustig & Sassower Blog

Annual NYC "hardhat mass" honors 19 construction workers who died

In New York City, 166 construction workers and four others died on the job within a recent 10-year period. On April 26 a mass was held at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan in honor of those killed in the most recent year. At the end of the service a symbolic hardhat and a rose were given to the family members of the deceased.

According to Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, the annual Catholic service honored the 19 workers who tragically lost their lives on construction sites over the past year. As we have discussed frequently on our blog, many of these workers lost their lives in preventable accidents caused by safety lapses that are the responsibility of contractors and project owners.

Construction worker struck on the head with a beam in Brooklyn

Each year in New York City, construction workers are hurt by falling objects that shouldn't have fallen. Some of these incidents prove to be fatal, like one in Chelsea last December when a loose piece of scaffolding killed a 34-year-old worker.

In March, another worker was catastrophically injured by a falling object on a construction site, this time in Williamsburg, according to the New York Daily News. An epidemic of dangerous conditions and disregard for worker safety allows this tragic pattern to continue with inadequate accountability for those responsible.

Will more NYC crane inspections mean fewer construction injuries?

Over the past few years, New York City has seen catastrophic accidents involving construction cranes. Most notably, a massive crane collapsed and killed a passerby in lower Manhattan in February 2016, when high winds were present. The tragedy led to greater regulations regarding the operation of cranes under windy conditions, but other crane-related accidents have occurred since then. 

Inspectors from the city's department of buildings (DOB) made surprise crane visits in early April, according to ABC 7 Eyewitness News. Do stricter inspection protocols and enforcement practices make workers and innocent bystanders safer?

Another "completely preventable" NYC construction worker death

Yet another New York City construction worker has died because of unsafe conditions, this time on Broadway near 49th Street. On April 11, a 59-year-old worker fell to his death at a Times Square construction site, according to the New York Daily News.

After the accident, the city's department of buildings (DOB) placed a stop work order on the site at 1604 Broadway, citing safety violations. But it was too late for Jose Cruz, a worker from Brooklyn, who fell about 18 feet from an I-beam.

Two NYC forklift deaths in a week: One in Brooklyn, one in Queens

Two New York City construction workers died tragically within a week of each other. Both men were killed in accidents involving forklifts. Both accidents seem to have been preventable.

On Saturday, March 10, a worker was crushed to death when a forklift tipped over at a Brooklyn site, as reported by the New York Daily News. Just three days later, on Tuesday, March 13, another worker was killed in Queens due to another forklift error.

Another construction death: Worker killed by a forklift in Queens

New York City construction workers continue to die at an alarming rate. This time, a worker was killed in a forklift accident on a job site in Jamaica, Queens, on March 13.

According to the New York Post's account of the tragedy, the 35-year-old worker, Edgar Pazmino, was employed by Westside Windows when he was killed.

Preventing construction injuries: Planning, execution or both?

In an age of fantastic technology, plentiful information and unprecedented digital communication, construction workers continue to suffer as a result of serious accidents that could have been prevented. Why do worker deaths and injuries continue to be such a serious problem in New York City and elsewhere?

By now, everyone in the construction industry is aware of fundamental safety principles. So is it a matter of planning or execution? Are people getting hurt because of deficiencies in training or accountability? Is the issue sloppiness, negligence or basic human greed? These are critical questions that demand answers.

NYC construction hazards: Falls during the winter months

New York City continues to experience a building boom, with many large construction projects continuing to move forward through the weather-challenged months of January, February and March. This puts workers at increased risk of certain injuries.

Falls are one of the leading causes of death and serious injury among New York workers, especially in the construction industry. Icy, wet and snowy surfaces can exacerbate the already-present danger of work at high elevation.

TWO NYC construction workers fall to their deaths on January 23

January 23, 2018 was a tragic day for New York City workers. Not one, but TWO men were killed that day when they fell to their deaths on different work sites, one in Rego Park, Queens, and the other near Gramercy Park in Manhattan. 

As reported by Crain's New York Business, 26-year-old construction worker John Davie died when he fell from a window while working on a condo on Saunders Street in Queens. Just hours earlier, 33-year-old elevator technician Ju Cong Wu died when he fell down an elevator shaft while working on a new hotel at 111 East 24th Street.

Queens construction negligence: 8-year-old hit in head by plank

Each year, dozens of New York City construction workers are seriously hurt and killed while doing their jobs. Many of these deaths and life-changing injuries are preventable, caused by the negligence of project owners and contractors who sometimes show flagrant disregard for worker safety.

But innocent pedestrians and passers-by are injured on a regular basis, too. And some of them die. You may recall that in February 2016 a man was killed in TriBeCa when a huge construction crane fell to the street and caused massive destruction.

*AV Preeminent is the highest rating of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell ratings fall into two categories - legal ability and general ethical standards.

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