Construction deaths go unreported as Building Owners ignore Law

By Michael Joseph on June 01, 2019

On May 18, 2019, a worker fell 30 feet to his death at a construction site next to New York City’s Grand Central station, which is a few blocks from our office in midtown Manhattan . The 49-year-old man was working at 333 Madison Avenue, between 43rd and 44th streets, when he fell from the fifth floor to the second floor shortly after noon. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital where he was pronounced dead. His identity wasn't immediately released pending notification of his family. This fatality occurred despite New York’s Labor Law 240 which requires fall protection for all workers at elevated work sites who are exposed to a fall risk. Our worksite Accident lawyers know that too often harnesses and lines are not provided in direct violation of New York’s Labor Law 240.

The building is being renovated as a tech hub called Grand Central Tech. The New York City Department of Buildings issued a full stop-work order for the site after the man's death. The department's investigation is ongoing.

In April 2019, three construction workers died in New York City within a single week. A least a dozen construction workers died on the job in New York City last year — but building owners and contractors reported only a single fatality. Our Manhattan construction accident wrongful death attorneys know that contractors will go to great lengths to avoid taking responsibility including failing to even report the accident.

A 2017 New York City law requires building owners or contractors to report all deaths and injuries on their construction sites to the Department of Buildings. The law went into effect immediately after it was signed in May 2017. Our New York City construction injury lawyers know this law is largely ignored.

Construction is the most lethal industry in New York City, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, which counted 20 deaths in 2017. The bureau’s 2018 tally is not yet available.

The Department of Buildings only counts and investigates a limited share of the deaths – specifically ones that involve building code violations and tallied 12 fatalities in 2018. The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health — an advocacy nonprofit made up of “workers, unions, community-based organizations, workers’ rights activists, and health and safety professionals” — has identified others.

Our New York construction accident lawyers affirm that developers need to be aware that we will be holding them to their obligations under the law and taking all appropriate enforcement actions if they fail to meet those obligations

 

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