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11 Year Old Girl Injured In Brooklyn After Being Struck By School Bus

Our thoughts are prayers are with the 11 year old girl who was struck by a yellow school bus as she was crossing the street at St. John's Place and Nostrand Avenue in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn on Wednesday afternoon (February 15, 2017). Reportedly, medics removed her to Kings County Hospital, where she was seen for head trauma and a fractured pelvis. We wish her a speedy and full recovery.

Police apparently stated that the child was in the crosswalk when she was struck. A witness, Jovani Soto, was quoted as saying that the bus was turning the corner and suggested that the bus was moving too quickly. Mr. Soto further explained, "I guess her book bag or something like hit the door or something. It made her spin and hit the floor. As he kept turning, he ran her over."

The description sounds absolutely horrific.

Pedestrian accidents often involve commercial busses or trucks

Pedestrians often face hazardous circumstances in New York City due to the significant number of accidents that occur daily involving motor vehicles. Many pedestrians are injured in pedestrian accidents involving buses, trucks, vans and other commercial vehicles. A certain number of these types of accidents involve pedestrians and workers who are on sidewalks that are invaded by runaway vehicles.

In one recent accident, a mini school bus jumped onto the sidewalk at the corner of Third Avenue and East 85th Street where it struck and injured four Doe Fund trainees. These are formerly homeless persons who are in a work trainee program sponsored by a non-profit organization. They were waiting to receive their daily assignments when they were struck.

Construction Worker Killed in Queens Forklift Accident

Rakesh Ram, a 28-year-old construction worker, was killed in a random forklift accident in Queens. The fatal work accident took place in the Long Island City section of Queens on Review Avenue near 35th Street, a busy commercial block. 

Ram was using the forklift in front of a warehouse. He placed the forklift in neutral and exited the cab of the machine, planning to walk towards a parked van The forklift, however, continued moving, pinning the unsuspecting worker between the forklift and the van. Emergency personnel were called to the scene and Ram was rushed to a nearby emergency room. He was sadly pronounced dead at Elmhurt Hospital.

Intro 1447: Protector of Workplace Safety or Union Power Grab?

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As we have written about frequently in recent years, New York City is in the midst of an unprecedented construction boom. An unfortunate, but preventable, side effect of the increased building activity has been an increase in construction worker injuries and deaths. 

Enter Intro 1447, also known as the Apprenticeship Safety Bill. This bill would require construction workers to complete an apprenticeship before working on any construction site 10 stories or larger, or any demolition site four stories or larger. 

Construction accidents and deaths more likely on non-union sites

In New York City, there is currently a construction boom that is having a beneficial economic impact on businesses and on the thousands of individuals who are working in construction jobs. With that upswing in financial well-being, however, there is the problem of a steep increase of construction accidents and deaths within the past two years. Last week, thousands of construction workers got together to mourn the deaths of the 30 individuals who died during that period.

The event on Jan. 31 was not just a memorial; it was also a call to city officials for the implementation of increased safety measures to reduce the death toll. The President of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, comprised of construction workers who are union members, announced that the group supports a proposed bill submitted by two City Councilmembers. If passed, the law would promote construction worker safety by requiring training in construction skills.

Blocked Bike Lanes Are Placing NYC Cyclists At Risk

Fotolia_69192004_Subscription_Monthly_M.jpgRecent data shows that illegal parking in bike lanes throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn is on the rise and creating more dangers for cyclists as well as increasing the rate of a possible bicycle accident. According to amNew York, nearly 1000 complaints of cars parked in bike lanes have been logged in a three month period between October 2016 and January 2017. The numbers suggest that, though some action was taken to protect the lanes from parked cars, little is being done to enforce those protections.

City Politicians Have an Opportunity to Make a 'Safer Skyline' With Proposed Construction Safety Laws

Members of the City Council are weighing a series of proposed laws that are focused on improving worker safety in the construction industry. The new laws are gaining momentum as the plight of the construction worker is being played out in local media outlets. The media, though slow to report on this ongoing problem, has recently revealed that more than 30 workers have died in construction accidents over the past 2 years. This has sparked some - but not enough - public outrage and has galvanized local leaders to try and make a change.

Alarming Statistics in 2016 NY Construction Fatalities Report

Deaths from work-related incidents in the construction industry are on the rise, according to a recently-released report by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health (NYCOSH). The annual report, titled Deadly Skyline, reveals disturbing trends in construction workplace practices both in New York City and the wider New York State. The study clearly shows that working in construction has become more dangerous in recent years.

Here are the most shocking statistics in regards to the New York construction industry:

  • The fatality rate of its workforce climbed 38.9% from 2011 to 2015.
  • 464 workers died in construction-related accidents in New York State in the ten year period from 2006 to 2015.
  • The New York City construction sector, which employs 3% of the city's workforce, has the highest occupational death rate: 34% of all workplace deaths across various industries. For Los Angeles and Chicago, the rates are 32% and 24% respectively. The NYC sector with the next highest occupational fatality rate was the trade, transportation, and utilities industry, accounting for 20% of all workplace deaths.
  • Work-related incidents involving deaths and injuries increased 88% from 2014 to 2015 (231 incidents in 2014 and 435 in 2015)
  • The majority of sites where workers were fatally injured had violated OSHA safety standards: 80% in 2014 and over 90% in 2015
  • Majority of worker deaths happened at non-union sites: 80% in 2014 and 74% in 2015
  • In 2014, 68% of all construction site inspections found OSHA safety violations.

Bottom line: if these trends continue, more and more laborers will suffer workplace atrocities that result in deaths and serious injuries, most of which are preventable.

Pedestrian accidents can often carry deadly consequences

Motorists who are in an excessive hurry in New York City sometimes end up in a lot of self-made trouble. This may include the causing of pedestrian accidents by negligent or reckless driving. That happened on Jan. 22 on a Brooklyn street at about 6 p.m. when a driver of a Porsche got frantic when he had to wait on the street for a vehicle ahead to crawl out of its parking spot, per a witness.

The impatient driver was blasting his car horn while trying to maneuver past the other car. The car that was pulling out struck the Porsche. The Porsche driver lost control of his vehicle. The car went onto the sidewalk where it hit and critically injured a 14-year-old boy who was playing a video game, the witness said. Police say that they charged the driver with reckless endangerment.  

Construction accidents and deaths occur more at smaller projects

An ironic characteristic of safety patterns has been recognized by experts who observe the construction industry in New York City. Because most of the safety precautions and regulations are directed at new buildings being constructed with 10 stories or more, it is the "minor" buildings of less than 10 stories that get little safety training or oversight. As a result, for example, between 2010 and 2015, there were 40 deaths due to construction accidents; 75 percent of those deaths occurred at the shorter buildings under 10 stories.

The taller buildings must have a site safety coordinator and a site safety engineer, but these are not required for buildings being constructed under 10 stories. The Building Code in New York City does not require any safety plans for the smaller projects. The only persons on-site who are responsible for safety are loaded down with other jobs that may even create a conflict with promoting safety.