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27 CONSTRUCTION WORKERS HAVE DIED THIS YEAR ON THE JOB IN NEW YORK CITY

WNYC.org has a two part series (found via Brownstoner.com) analyzing one such accident in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.  Jose Palacios, a Mexican immigrant, died when the scaffold beneath him collapsed at a luxury condo in Clinton Hill. He worked on a day when the winds climbed to 30 miles an hour. Faulty equipment was the likely cause of the accident.  "They had the correct ties, and for whatever reason, they didn't have the tool -- the correct tool to install those ties," said OSHA's Richard Mendelson.  Of course the developer blames the workers for not listening to instructions.  This is a common defense in most construction accident cases.

WNYC posted a picture of the accident scene:

The article quotes an OSHA investigator:

At about 10 o'clock, the scaffold tore free from the building, collapsed, and sent the workers tumbling. Palacios fell more than 10 stories, until he landed on a set-back at the third floor, fracturing his skull. He was taken to the hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.

OSHA fined the developer of the building, but it has not paid the fine. The article notes an all too common refrain about federal regulation of contruction sites: OSHA has 20 inspectors responsible for overseeing thousands of construction sites across the five boroughs. Most of their time is spent responding to accidents, not preventing them.

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