When walking around New York City, everywhere you look, signs indicate that the city is in the midst of a building boom. From soaring cranes and towering scaffolding structures to walled off massive construction sites, signs of development and renovation are obvious and hard to ignore. While the local construction industry’s prosperity is often regarded as a positive sign of a burgeoning local and national economy, the recent death of a construction worker in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood has again raised concerns about construction safety in the city.
According to police investigators who were on the scene in the wake of the fatal accident, a 30-year-old construction worker fell to his death after the wooden boards on which he was standing collapsed and gave way. The man was employed as an elevator mechanic and was working four stories above ground in an elevator shaft when the accident occurred.
Police report that the man was not wearing a safety harness when he fell. Records indicate that the man’s employer, a construction contractor, was cited and fined $12,000 last spring at the same construction site for failing to ensure that a worker, who was reportedly scaling a 15 to 20 foot wall, was wearing a safety harness.
News of the man’s death was met with sadness and anger by some New York City Council members who stated that “we cannot allow reckless contractors to take advantage of our city’s construction boom without prioritizing the safety and security of all New Yorkers.” This most-recent construction accident and worker death indicates that some contractors are prioritizing profits over safety, a practice that should never be tolerated.
Source: CBS New York, “Police: Worker Falls To His Death In Hell’s Kitchen Elevator Shaft,” Ginny Kosola, Aug. 25, 2015