The New York City construction accident lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy frequently discuss topics related to worker safety. Below, we tackle a tragic story of sports transcending the construction world. It is a truly sad story that has gripped the nation’s sports fans and worker safety advocates alike. It should be a warning to all that safety in the workplace must remain as important as ever.
There is always a lot of excitement surrounding the building of a new professional sports stadium. N.F.L. stadiums and their parking lots generate enormous buzz because a football stadium and its surrounding areas are a fan’s social hub. It can be as important as the game to many. The fans of the team are excited, naturally, but a large-scale construction project such as a new stadium or arena also leads to hundreds of jobs and an economic boom for the city in which it is built. Like any job, there is a schedule to adhere to and deadlines to meet. Sometimes these deadlines hover over a jobsite and lead to rushed or careless decisions, like the failure to provide appropriate equipment to workers or taking short cuts to finish a job. Unfortunately, rushed or careless decisions often lead to serious worksite injuries and deaths.
Another work-related death has recently occurred during the construction of the 68,500-seat, $1.2 billion dollar Levi Stadium, which will be the new home of the San Francisco 49ers and host to the 2016 Super Bowl. Construction began on the new stadium in April 2012 in Santa Clara, California and is slated to be ready for the 2014 season.
A delivery truck driver, 60-year-old Edward Lake II, was crushed and severely injured on Monday, October 14, 2013, by a bundle of rebar being unloaded from his truck. The bundle was not properly secured. This can happen, generally, because either the straps confining the bundle were not strong enough or the rebar bundles were stacked in an unsafe manner. Mr. Lake was an employee of Gerdau Ameristeel, a multinational steel company. Though he was rushed by ambulance to a local hospital, tragically he died from his injuries. Mr. Lake has been retired but was “bored” sitting at home and decided to return to work. A neighbor who knew him said he “loved his job”. Our thoughts and prayers are with those that were close to Mr. Lake. We hope that the passing of time affords them strength.
Police and fire department investigators determined that the incident was accidental and not criminal and construction restarted the next day. Devastated co-workers will be offered counseling and taking part in safety meetings. The project’s co-director conducted an all-hands meeting for the more than 900 workers on site to talk about safety with the workers and answer what questions they can about the accident. The 49ers organization expressed its condolences in statement: “Our sincerest thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and co-workers affected by this tragedy”.
Mr. Lake’s death is unfortunately not the first on the Levi Stadium job. His death came three days after California workplace regulators concluded that a fatality at the site in June 2013 did not merit sanctions for the companies involved. On June 11, 2013, another worker, Donald White, was killed after being hit by an elevator counterweight while on a ladder at the bottom of an elevator shaft.
Block O’Toole & Murphy fights to protect the rights of those injured, or tragically killed, in construction site accidents. We are committed to helping injured workers and their families during a very difficult time. The construction accident attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy, LLP have won more than $700,000,000 in verdicts and settlements for injured victims and are available for a free consultation at (212) 736-5300. You can also learn more about the firm by visiting the firm’s website at blockotoole.com.