As construction in New York City has continued to grow at a fever pitch; deaths among construction workers have steadily increased year over year. Since 2000 many have gathered annually at St. Patrick’s Cathedral to honor those workers who have given their lives while working. In fact, back in 2008 I personally attended the service when a Crane at East 51st Street collapsed killing 6 workers and one innocent bystander who was in the apartment of the townhouse that was crushed to death. Leav & Steinberg, LLP was retained by the family for that woman, Odin Torres to pursue all legal claims available. I am pleased to report that after 8 years of litigation all cases have resolved for a confidential figure; providing compensation for Odin’s parents who have lost their only child.
Sadly, I was reminded how the desire to put up the residential buildings as well as construction going on across our city has continued to leave workers and other exposed to hazards at the job; many of which are avoidable. According to the NY Times last year, 88 million square feet of construction was underway, according to the city. That was more than double the amount of work done in 2013 or 2014, and it exceeds the 65 million square feet built in both 2007 and 2008.
The New York Times discussed in detail on May 2, 2016 how safety is still a major issue: “Accidents were less frequent for a while after the crane collapse because of increased safety measures and a post-recession construction slowdown, but as real estate has boomed in recent years, the number of injuries and fatalities has risen sharply. For the workers, there is more work, but also more risk.”