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Safety violations identified at NYC construction site where worker was impaled

A building in Manhattan’s Flatiron district, which is in the process of being converted into condos, was recently the scene of a horrific accident in which a construction worker was critically injured. According to the Department of Buildings, the construction accident occurred when the worker “fell from a ladder as he was installing sheetrock overhead on a ceiling frame.”

For unknown reasons, the man fell off of the ladder and plummeted four stories down an open elevator shaft. The man’s fall was stopped when his body came into contact with jagged pieces of rebar on the elevator’s shaft’s ground floor. According to a 31-year-old elevator technician who found the injured worker, the man’s “abdomen, back, thigh, buttock and groin,” were impaled by the rebar.

While an investigation into the accident is still pending, DOB officials revealed that the worker was not wearing any fall-protection safety gear when the accident occurred. Additionally, the elevator shaft was not covered nor had, as is legally required, safety caps been placed over the tops of the pieces of rebar onto which the man fell. Had the worker’s employer taken any of these safety precautions, it’s likely that this horrific accident could have been prevented or, at the very least, the man’s injuries would have been far less severe.

In addition to the identified safety violations related to this most-recent accident, records indicate that the man’s construction employer was previously cited and fined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for safety violations related to failures to provide fall-protection equipment and properly secure elevator shaft doors.

This accident is yet another example of a construction company that failed to protect workers from obvious work-related hazards. Unfortunately, accidents involving these types of safety violations and devastating injuries are not uncommon. Construction workers and family members who have been affected by a construction accident should consult with an experienced attorney.

Source: The New York Daily News, “Construction worker impaled on steel bars after a five-story fall in Flatiron building,” Ryan Sit, Greg B. Smith, Graham Rayman, Jan. 27, 2016

The Real Deal, “Construction worker critical after Flatiron fall,” Jan. 27, 2016

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