Articles Posted in Construction Accidents

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This morning, a terrible tragedy occurred as a crane collapsed in TriBeCa around 8:30 A.M. Early reports indicate that at least one person has been fatally injured, and two others have sustained serious injuries.

The massive crane, operated by Bay Crane, now lays down the path of Worth Street stretching from West Broadway to Church Street.

It appears the crane was working on 60 Hudson Street, a longtime industrial building undergoing renovation to luxury apartments. The crane was parked on Worth Street.

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On October 30, 2015, at approximately 10:38AM, the building under construction at 25 West 38th Street, New York, New York collapsed, resulting in the death of a laborer. There were about 19 workers inside the building that was in the process of being demolished in order to start construction on a luxury hotel at the site. The injured laborer and the body of the killed worked remained trapped underneath the partially collapsed building while emergency workers tried to reach them. The two top floors collapsed and the workers were trapped inside. Reports indicate the support wall collapsed falling directly onto the workers. Their efforts were hampered as the construction site was not stable and needed to be shored up.

Labor Law § 240(1), a New York State statute, imposes upon owners and general contractors a non-delegable duty to provide proper and adequate safety devices to afford protection to construction workers working on a building or structure subject to elevation-related hazards. No matter how stringent the safety standards are in New York regarding construction, all construction laborers are at risk every single day while on the job.

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On February 26, 2014 eight construction workers were injured in a construction accident when the three story building, located at 1916 Prospect Place in Brooklyn, collapsed. The workers were inside the building, on the third floor, when it collapsed, causing them to plummet to the first floor.

These construction workers were sent inside the building, despite numerous open violations with the New York City Department of Buildings, which indicated the hazardous condition of the building. At the time of the accident, according to the records of the New York City Department of Buildings, the property located at 1916 Prospect Place had sixteen open violations issued by the Department of Buildings, as well as over $80,000 in unpaid fines issued as a result of these violations. Of these sixteen open violations eight were listed with a class – 1 severity, indicating that the violation was immediately hazardous.

In New York, a property owner can be held liable for injuries caused by an allegedly defective condition, if the owner either creates the defective condition, or has actual or constructive notice of the condition. This means a property owner can be held liable for injuries caused by defective conditions which the owner either knew about, or should have known about.

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Creepy crawlies belong outside, not in houses. People try many different methods to discourage bugs from entering their homes, whether it be a house or an apartment. There are many products one can use to kill bugs and keep them out of the home. But these products contain a lot of chemicals and can harm humans as much as bugs. And one needs to be cautious because these chemicals are highly flammable, as was shown in the fogger explosion in Chinatown recently.

Exploding Bug Bombs

A woman had a problem with bugs infesting her apartment. She purchased foggers, also known as bug bombs, to deal with the problem. Foggers release a fine mist of chemicals into the air that will filter into walls and small places to kill bugs. “A single six-ounce can is enough to treat 6,000 cubic feet of space, which translates roughly to an 800-square-foot apartment with a seven-foot ceiling.”

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Over the past year, jobsite injuries have been regularly making the news. According to the New York Daily News, it turns out that workplace accidents actually increased in New York by 31 percent from 2011 to 2012, while the New York Buildings Department cut its number of worksite inspections by nearly 40 percent in the past three years. An article in PR Web echoed these figures, calling for more oversight in the construction industry. What do these numbers mean for you? If you or someone you know works in the construction industry, it turns out that jobsites may not be as safe as we’d like to think.

What Sparked the Investigation into Jobsite Accidents?

The New York Daily News introduced concerns about jobsite-accident increases by summarizing some of the newsworthy injuries over the past year.

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The drilling industry maintains that fracking is harmless to water supply, but scientific studies, including an old one by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), show otherwise. Fracking is the procedure whereby water, sand, and/or toxic chemicals are imbued to the ground to break up rocks and release natural gas. For years, settlements between landowners and energy companies have been sealed, making it impossible for the public to analyze documents which may show many more instances of water contamination by fracking than already discerned.

The EPA study revolves around contamination discovered in 1984 in West Virginia, on the property of Mr. James Parsons. The Kaiser Exploration and Mining Company used hydraulic fracturing fluids or gels that were ultimately found in Mr. Parson’s water well, along with natural gas. The water was rendered unusable. Though the American Petroleum Institute conceded this was a case of water contamination due to fracking, a spokesman averred that the important factor in that case was that the driller and regulator did not know about the nearby aquifer. Other scientific studies have found that patterns of fracking contamination can aggregate so severely that a faucet can be lit on fire, or a home or water well may blow up after gas seeps into the basement or water supply. The drilling industry and some state regulators described these other adverse fracking incidents as anecdotal, unconnected to drilling activity, or an isolated problem.

The oil and gas industry claims fracking is safe because the process occurs thousands of feet below drinking water aquifers. The Chief Executive of ExxonMobil has gone so far as to say at a Congressional hearing: “There have been over a million wells hydraulically fractured in the history of the industry, and there is not one, not one, reported case of a freshwater aquifer having ever been contaminated from hydraulic fracturing. Not one”. Clearly this is contrary to the EPA finding, which was published in 1987, as well as other documented instances in New York, Colorado, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

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Labor Law § 240(1), a New York State statute, imposes upon owners and general contractors a non-delegable duty to provide proper and adequate safety devices to afford protection to construction workers working on a building or structure subject to elevation-related hazards. No matter how stringent the safety standards are in New York regarding construction, all construction laborers are at risk every single day while on the job.

Any breach of the statute will impose absolute liability upon the owner and general contractor at the construction site. Moreover, negligence of the injured construction worker is of no consequence against a Labor Law §240(1) claim. This statute, along with Labor Law §241(6) and §200 (codification of common law standards) allows an injured construction worker to recover monetary damages for injuries suffered in a construction site accident.

Earlier this month, a wall collapsed at a construction site in Rego Park, Queens on January 10, 2011, killing a construction worker and seriously injuring three other workers at the site. This was the first construction death recorded in New York City this year, according to New York City’s Department of Buildings. The accident occurred as two workers were perched atop the wall, which was 18 feet tall, pouring concrete into the spaces in the cinder block wall, when it collapsed. There were two workers on the ground near the wall and beneath the scaffolding when the wall began to collapse.
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