work site injury

Construction worker killed in New York building collapse

Last week, construction workers were in the process of demolishing a 100-year-old warehouse when the building suddenly collapsed, burying three workers in a huge pile of concrete, bricks and steel. Although emergency responders were able to extricate all three from the rubble, the men suffered serious injuries, ultimately resulting in one worker’s death.

According to police reports, the fatal construction accident occurred as the workers were demolishing the two-story warehouse as part of Columbia University’s expansion. Although the exact cause of the incident is not yet known, a New York City spokesman says that it may have been triggered by the severing of a key structural beam earlier that morning. Continue reading


Construction Accidents Less Common in NYC in 2011

New York construction sites are getting safer it seems, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri. There was an 18% decrease in construction accidents last year in the city. Compared with 157 construction accidents in 2010, there were only 128 in 2011. Officials are crediting new laws that have been implemented over the past several years.

Among those new laws are revised city construction codes, which took effect in 2009. Those codes had not been revised in 40 years and were understandably in need of updating.

Construction accident injuries also fell, from 165 in 2010, to 152 last year, a drop of 7.8%. Oddly enough, however, fatalities increased by one, with 5 construction-related deaths last year and only 4 in 2010.

Of all construction accidents, falling is still the most common, but even construction falls declined last year by 21%, from 66 in 2010 to 52 in 2011.

More than 25 construction safety laws have been passed since 2008, affecting construction sites within the city. According to Occupational Health & Safety, many of these laws had a role in reducing the number of construction accidents. Continue reading


Fatal workplace accident under OSHA investigation

In New York City and throughout the country, construction sites are known to be very dangerous. There are many inherent dangers in and around construction sites that contribute to the risks that employees take each day when they step onto a worksite. As a result, it is extremely important for contractors to abide by all safety measures. When people ignore safety procedures or warnings that premises are dangerous, everyone on the worksite might at risk of suffering catastrophic injury.

Such was the recent tragedy that occurred on a construction site. There, the contractor was on notice that the premises were dangerous. Inspectors actually issued a stop-work order until the dangers could be rectified. Specifically, a 12-foot deep hole that had been dug was in danger of collapse when city officials inspected the construction project. The inspector demanded that the hole be made secure before anyone entered the trench. Otherwise, individuals would risk serious injury or even death from a collapse. Continue reading


Costly U.S. work-related injuries and illnesses

How does $250 billion per year in health costs sound to an employer? Not very healthy! A newly released government study shows that amount and more is the cost to employers in New York and across the U.S. for work site accident injuries and illnesses. This total exceeds all costs for cancer, more than costs for diabetes, and it is more than double the costs for strokes.

The author of this study, Paul Leigh, claims that not enough attention is being paid to occupational health. The University of California (Davis) professor of public health sciences says risk from job-related injury and illness is so high because the average worker does spend about 40 percent of his or her time at the workplace. Continue reading


Falling scaffolding injures 17 people in Harlem

Construction work sites can be very dangerous places, especially in New York where many of the buildings reach high heights. Workers must use dangerous tools around structures that are often either incomplete or falling apart and in need of the repair being done on them. Scaffolding is used to hold workers and transport heavy material used at the construction site.

When scaffolding falls, it can cause serious damage to those unlucky enough to be on the structure at the time or to those standing below. Falling scaffolding was to blame for causing injury to 17 people in Harlem early Tuesday morning.

The scaffolding had been erected around an old five-story brick building on West 125th Street in Harlem. According to reports, work was being done on an elevator shaft when bricks came loose, falling on the scaffolding. The scaffolding collapsed at approximately 9:25 in the morning when the streets were filled with pedestrians and commuters.

Of the 17 people injured, eight of them had been riding on a city bus when the scaffolding collapsed and landed on the back end of the bus. A reporter for The New York World was riding on the bus at the time and related his experience. “I heard a falling sound of something collapsing toward the back, and the back of the bus filled up with smoke,” he said. “People were running from the back and screaming.”

The reporter talked to a young boy who “said that he thought he was going to die.” The fear of the young boy was by no means over exaggerated. Scaffolding accidents are considered very dangerous, often leaving families to find a way to survive after their primary income-earner is seriously injured or even loses their life in one of the accidents.

Source: The New York Times, “17 Injured as Scaffold Collapses Onto Bus in Harlem,” Andy Newman and Matt Flegenheimer, Sept. 20, 2011