Dominick Deluca, a construction worker from Dover, New Jersey, fell from scaffolding and plummeted to his death yesterday at a Bronx construction site. Deluca was working in a public housing development located on Webster Avenue in the Bronx. He fell from a 15-foot high scaffold platform, hitting his head on the pavement. The impact to his head rendered him unconscious.
He was found by co-workers and responding officers lying on the ground helpless with obvious trauma to his head. Emergency personnel, after finding him, rushed him to Bronx Lebanon Hospital to try to save his life. Tragically, he was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The fatal construction accident occurred early yesterday morning. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who cared for and loved Mr. Deluca. May he rest in peace and may his untimely death remind everyone about the importance of worker safety.
Frequent readers of this blog will not be surprised that we are again bemoaning the loss of a hard-working member of the construction industry. Worker safety concerns have plagued the New York metropolitan area over the last several years. Recently it seems like some construction workers die every month in our area.
Some of the construction fatality statistics can be attributed to the massive boom in construction work all over our region. That doesn’t explain it all though. Hard-working men and women are being placed in dangerous positions far too often without regard for their safety so that they can do a difficult and peril-ridden job faster. The faster a job is completed, the faster the well-off developers and contractors are paid.
It is very well known that fast work will lead to an increase in serious construction accidents. We need to educate everyone about worker safety and why it truly is a life or death issue. Focusing on the tragedy involving Mr. Deluca: How could this have happened? The Department of Buildings issued a violation against the city-owned building for the scaffold that Mr. Deluca was using when he fell. The violation stated, in part, that the scaffolding failed to “meet building safety code standards.”
What does that mean? It can mean a few different things:
- Scaffolds are supposed be constructed according to manufacturer’s specifications. A failure to comply with that can trigger a violation.
- Scaffolds are supposed to be equipped with guardrails to prevent people from falling.
- Scaffolds are required to be compatible with fall protection systems. In other words, workers should be supplied harnesses and safety belts that, when attached to an appropriate tie off point, will prevent them from falling.
- The scaffold placement should be in close proximity to a series of tie off points so workers can utilize the fall protection devices that are required to be given to them.
- Scaffolds need to be structurally sound and secure so that they provide a safe platform for people to work on.
- Scaffolds need to be the appropriate size for the job at hand.
The Department of Buildings will investigate this tragedy thoroughly. Their investigation will likely uncover how and why this man is no longer alive. For those who fail to acknowledge the significance of this problem related to worker safety, ask yourself this: If the safety rules and regulations are not followed on a job at a New York City public housing development, how serious are the safety violations at an unsupervised, nonunion two-family home renovation in Jackson Heights?
The answer is both obvious and frightening. The education of society about the importance of worker safety and the promotion and protection of New York’s worker safety laws are critical for our middle-class workers and their families. Everyone needs to do their part.
Block O’Toole & Murphy is a law firm that prides itself on helping and fighting for injured construction workers. Our results, including more than $850 million in verdicts and settlements, speak volumes about our commitment to helping people during terrible periods in their lives. You may learn more about the lawyers at this firm by reviewing our website at www.blockotoole.com. You may also call us at any time for a free consultation at 212-736-5300.
Source: NY Post