Images of raging winds and torrential rain filled the news in recent days as we in New York City watched Hurricane Irma pummel Florida. One of the videos that made an especially strong impression was from Miami, where a construction crane spun out of control atop a high-rise. News reports indicated that two cranes collapsed in Miami, sending debris onto the empty streets below. A crane in nearby Fort Lauderdale also reportedly collapsed during the ferocious storm. For those in the construction industry, the reports were reminders of the several deadly New York City crane collapses in recent years.
At first glance, some people might find humor in the story. After all, a construction worker was using a portable toilet on a work site when a dump truck driver "rolled over" him, according to a newspaper report.All possible humor vanishes, however, when more details of the incident are revealed. The injured construction worker has a collapsed right lung, multiple fractures of his pelvis and possible internal bleeding. The 28-year-old worker was in just his second day on the job at the billion-dollar Louis Armstrong Airport expansion project in New Orleans.
It happens every year: New York roadway construction picks up in the spring and slows down in fall. Though road work slows down at this time of year, the remaining job sites are just as dangerous as ever for workers and drivers alike.
Few things are as tragic and difficult for people to accept as the premature death of a loved one. The sudden and unexpected loss of a dear friend or a family member can shake us to the core. Those were the emotions rolling through those who gathered recently for the funeral of a 49-year-old construction worker killed in an on-site accident. One of the mourners described the accident victim as an "authentically, genuinely, joyful, kind person."
Few of us have achieved all we wanted to get done, been to all the places we've wanted to visit or acquired all the knowledge we sought by the time we're 22 years old. It is tragic when life is cut short at that age.New York City media reports that a 22-year-old worker died when he fell down an elevator shaft at a Manhattan construction site. The Yonkers man was working at a 52-story building being erected at 281 Fifth Avenue, officials said. The tower is scheduled for completion in two years, NBC reports.
Construction work is dangerous, but sometimes unnecessarily so. Falling objects can present a serious hazard that may be largely preventable.
Manhattan is bursting with huge construction projects -- downtown, midtown and uptown -- including residential and mixed-use buildings. With one of the world's tallest residential towers at 432 Park Avenue, two enormous new skyscrapers being erected on West 57th Street, extensive development by Columbia, NYU and Cornell, and countless other projects in the works, New York developers are competing for bragging rights. And there is plenty of opportunity for workers.
We all know medical care is expensive, with most experts seeing no sign of things becoming more affordable. If you or one of your family members is injured on a construction job, who will pay your medical bills? Who will cover the lost income during recovery?
We have talked in previous posts about the alarming rise of construction-related deaths in New York City. Many of the city's recent fatal accidents have involved falls and falling machinery. There is a painful feeling among workers, workers' families and worker advocates that some of the accidents could have been prevented.
Construction workers are dying in increasing numbers. A recent New York Times opinion piece threw out a shocking number: There were 31 New York City construction fatalities, most of them on nonunion worksites, in the last two years.