Too often we highlight instances where workers are exploited because they did not receive the proper safety equipment. Too often when that happens, the consequences are tragic and lives are lost. But today, we are pleased to report about a story coming out of Texas where the life of a bridge worker was spared because he actually was provided and properly used a safety harness. The safety harness saved his life.
Construction worker Vidal Sanchez-Roman lost his life in a senseless construction accident in the spring of 2015. This week, the general contractor who was responsible for an alarming number of safety violations at the job site was hit with a measly $84,600 fine in connection with his death. The punishment - - or perhaps better framed as a 'lack of accountability' - - is particularly disturbing given the degree and nature of the safety violations.
The investigating agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), came out swinging against the general contractor J & M Metro, charging that "Mr. Sanchez's death could have been prevented by J & M Metro." Still, the agency is hamstrung by the amount of penalty they can levy, even for a company that accumulated 6 different safety violations during this investigation. This punishment fell short, woefully short.
A recent New York Post story reported a proposed bill that would make it easier to get information about traffic crashes and summonses on city streets. The bill focuses on the need to create a database that focuses on truck accidents on streets that are official truck routes. Such streets include Canal Street and Delancy Street in Manhattan and Queens Boulevard.
The City Council members Margaret Chin, Jimmy Van Buren and Ydanis Rodriguez proposed this legislation as part of the Vision Zero program to eliminate traffic deaths. Council member Chin said, "This vital piece of legislation is an important part of our quest to achieve zero pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities because it will provide, for the first time, easily accessible data about when and where incidents occur along our city's dangerous truck routes."
The Fire Department of New York City (FDNY) is holding events across the city in an effort to reduce fires and educate people about staying safe if a fire should occur. The events are part of the 92nd National Fire Prevention Week.
The series of events is timely. There have been several fatal fires in recent days. A 10-year-old boy in Brooklyn died when his apartment caught fire. Investigation by FDNY revealed that the fire was caused by a pinched electrical cord in the apartment. There were also no working smoke detectors in the apartment, which was located in the Louis H. Pink Houses, a New York City Public Housing Authority project.
The rest of the boy's family escaped the blaze.
Tragedy Strikes as Man Crushed By Malfunctioning Elevator in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
The lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy are following news of a breaking news story this morning where an innocent victim was killed in a fatal elevator accident. The accident sent shockwaves through the trendy Brooklyn neighborhood.
Recent gas explosions in New York City have drawn attention to the condition of gas lines in the city. New York in general and Manhattan in particular has some of the oldest infrastructure of any large city in the United States, and gas pipes are no exception. The iron gas pipes are rusty and leaky. The result: Manhattan iemits three to five times more natural gas than cities with better, newer pipes, according to a recent survey.
The survey compared newer and smaller cities, like Cincinnati, Ohio, and Durham, North Carolina, with New York. Both of the smaller cities have replaced most main gas pipes with plastic or sealed steel pipes. Previous studies focused on Boston and Washington, D.C., and found gas leak rates similar to those in New York. The density of older cities makes fixing these gas leaks a daunting prospect.
The graphic below shows some statistics about the construction industry that might leave you wondering, "Who's to blame?"
Only last week this blog did an overview of cranes and crane accidents. In that piece we commented that when a crane accident does not cause serious injury or death it garners quite a bit of news because usually when the rare crane accident does occur the consequences are severe. We here at Block O'Toole & Murphy are pretty good at reading the tea leaves but we are most definitely not soothsayers.
The fiscal year that ended in June has not been good for construction worker safety in New York City. The numbers below tell the story:
The weekend of September 12-13, 2015, was a deadly one for New Yorkers. Three people lost their lives in traffic accidents. One of them occurred on City Island, another in Brooklyn and the third in the Bronx. In addition, a woman in East Elmhurst was critically injured by a drunk driver while crossing the street.
The City Island incident occurred when a woman who was bicycling home to Soundview and was crossing the City Island bridge around 11:45 PM. According to witnesses, she was hit by the driver of a 2015 white Hyundai Genesis who was going in the same direction as the victim. The driver fled the scene and was not identified.