Every year, the Federal Highway Administration marks one week in April as National Work Zone Awareness Week. This year, New York construction accident lawyers, construction safety groups and transportation officials are dedicating April 19th through April 23rd to highway construction worker safety.
A 59-year-old construction foreman, was laying down metal tracks when a wall collapsed on him early this morning in the Rosebank section of Staten Island. He was found unconscious and pronounced dead at the scene by EMS officials. Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said that wind played a role in the wall collapse. Investigators are trying to determine whether Building Safety requirements were met.
Newsday is reporting that two New York City crane operators have been fined $50,000 and have had their licenses suspended after a September accident that killed a construction worker. The city stated that Christopher Van Duyne and James Van Duyne cut a guardrail on a platform attached to a tower crane that was being taken down at a midtown Manhattan construction site. The men were helping to dismantle the crane at the site of a residential tower. A worker at the site, Anthony Esposito, fell more than 40 stories from the platform and was killed. The city already announced a suspension of the license of another worker who said he was taking a break when the accident happened.
New York has had the worst of it, but collapsing cranes have caused catastrophic injuries all over the world in the recent global building boom. The Associated Press reports that Dubai is the latest city to experience a collapsing crane. Luckily, there were no reported injuries.
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.
CNN has an article about construction industry gripes with all the new regulation that has resulted from the shocking number of crane accidents that have occurred in the last year. If you dig into the article you will note that the Federal regulations have not been updated in 40 years. This is newsworthy, but not because the construction industry is upset. The lack of regulation of this industry is an obvious cause of the numerous deaths that have occurred across the country. As we mentioned recently, crane accidents in New York City alone have resulted in 19 deaths this year.
The AFL-CIO Now Blog reports that Rev. Brian Jordan ran in the New York Marathon to honor the 19 construction workers killed on the job this year. The staggering number of construction injuries this year highlights the importance of safety standards and training at construction sites. Rev. Jordan noted that nonunion workers are far more likely to be injured on a worksite. The AFL-CIO has also reported that one in five Latino construction workers are injured or killed on the job.