Deadly Week in New York City for Construction Workers By Michael Joseph on February 22, 2020

This week at a Jamaica Queens demolition site, one construction worker was killed and another construction worker suffered serious personal injuries from falling debris.The construction worker, who was a good man and father of two girls, died when he was working on the second floor and it collapsed. Our New York City construction accident lawyers, have handled numerous personal injury cases involving construction workers injured by falling debris or structural collapses. According to initial reports the welder was told to weld the rebar, so that the concrete would come down easier, but the whole structure collapsed. Apparently the contractors continued on this course of action of trying to save time, even though the workers warned that doing the job in this manner would cause the structure to collapse.  New York law requires that workers be provided with adequate scaffolds, when performing demolition above ground level when performing demolition. New York's regulations also require that the structure be secure with proper bracing and shoring so that it doesn't collapse. In this case, the fact that the accident happened means that the contractors did not follow New York's law and can be sued to compensate the families for this tragic wrongful death. Unfortunately construction fatalities are nothing new in New York City. 

The Buildings Department Commissioner, promised the families that those at fault will be held responsible, but our construction injury lawyers know that these families should be compensated to the full extent of the law. Ironically, these Labor Law violations occurred only a few blocks from the Queens Supreme Court, which sees  a large share of construction injury Labor Law violation lawsuits. 

New York City does not have a monopoly in dangerous construction accidents. In another construction accident in New Rochelle in Westchester New York, a construction worker from the Bronx, was electrocuted and killed, when a cherry picker which he was using to work on the exterior of a building came into contact with a live power line. Even though New York Law requires that scaffolds and other devices which are used to lift workers to elevated work sites, must be secured against movement and that electrical power be disconnected from lines whjich construction workers may come into contact with, this accident occurred. New York's Labor Laws apply everywhere in New York State and unsafe work practices continue to cause serious personal injuries all over New York State. Our Westchester construction fatality accident lawyers know that if the regulations and safe work practices were followed, this tragedy never would have occurred. 

In Long Island, one construction worker died and another, buried under dirt, is believed to be dead, after a collapse, due to lack of proper shoring on a construction site. According to the Nassau County Police, one of the walls of dirt and sand gave away, and covered both construction in approximately five to seven feet of wet dirt and sand.the walls of a 30-foot pit partially caved in, while the workers were installing a septic tank, and and the two construction workers were trapped. This occurred even though New York's Labor Laws require that when workers are working in an excavation or trench, the walls are supposed to be shored and braced to prevent this type of collapse from occurring. New York's regulations also required that  materials be stored so as to prevent movement. These construction fatalities are more examples of the tragic results that occur when contractors don't follow proper safety practices on construction sites. 

Unsafe construction practices which put construction workers lives at risk continue to be rampant in New York City. Just a couple of months ago, a scaffold on the 18th floor of the Hudson Yard project collapsed and the workers suffered serious injuries. In the last seven years, over 150 workers have been injured on the Hudson Yards project and have filed personal injury lawsuits, which is an extremely high rate of accidents. These accidents include accidents involving broken scaffolding, collapsing scaffolding, workers falling on a wet beam, workers tripping on  debris and more serious accidents in which workers were hit by debris or equipment falling on them.  At this rate, it is only a matter of time until the Hudson Yards project has a fatality.  The owners of the site, have attempted to skirt their responsiblity and claimed that it is too easy under New York law to sue, so rather than enforce the safe work practices, they are actually blaming the injured workers for getting hurt. This brazen attitude is typical of what our New York City construction accident lawyers fight against every day. On another site, where a construction fatality occurred when a glass panel fell and crushed a construction worker, the contractor was so obstinate, that they protested a Department of Building citation, that they failed to provide adequate work site safety.  Even though this accident was clearly caused by a violation of OSHA regulations which require that requires that aisles and passageways be kept clear so that material handling equipment or employees may move freely, the contractor continues to dispute the penalty, even after a settlement with the deceased construction worker's family for over a million dollars. If contractors are not even willing to take responsibility when they drop materials and kill someone, it is no surprise that construction accidents continue to occur, given the construction industry's cavalier attitude towards safety. 


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The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC

Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC

The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC, has been helping injured victims recover compensation for their injuries for over a decade. Our attorneys are members of several prestigious organizations, including: 

  • New York State Trial Lawyers Association
  • American Association for Justice
  • New York County Bar Association
  • Westchester County Bar Association

To request your free initial consultation with our team, call our New York City office at (212) 858-0503 or our White Plains office at (914) 574-8330. You can also request a case review online.

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