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Worker dies when pipe falls on him at New York construction site

A worker at a New York construction site has died after being crushed by a pipe at a construction site. The construction site is at Governors Island, the 127-acre former military base that is being turned into parkland.

The new park is in the first phase of a $250 million construction project. The worker, 55, was among workers who were unloading large pipes from a flatbed truck at the site. As a forklift unloaded the pipes, a 15-foot long, 6,000-pound pipe broke free and landed on the worker. Police said the man died at the scene. They are investigating what led to the accident with the falling object, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can also be expected to investigate.

Being hit by falling objects is a significant source of injury and death at construction sites. Injuries may include head and brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones and other serious injuries. Falling objects are also a significant source of fatal accidents. According to the OSHA, 10 percent of fatal construction accidents in 2011 were from being struck by falling objects.

Despite strict state and federal safety laws designed to keep construction workers safe, the construction industry remains dangerous. OSHA estimates that 17 percent of the fatal work accidents in 2011 involved construction. More than half of those falls came from four causes, including being struck by falling objects.

Sources: Staten Island Advance, "Pipe falls from truck, crushing Staten Island construction worker to death on Governors Island," Ken Paulsen, July 5, 2013; Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Commonly Used Statistics

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