Another tragedy at a New York City construction site.
This time, an elevator mechanic was severely injured when he fell down an elevator shaft at a Brooklyn construction site. 42 Year-old Tracy Buyes showed up for his second day of work at a building in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn having no idea that this ordinary day may shape the course of the rest of his life. Tragedy unexpectedly struck during the early morning hours of his workday.
Buyes, a married father of 3 who resides in Long Island, according to reports in The New York Daily News, is an experienced elevator mechanic, working in the field for more than two decades.
He was working at an elevated area at the construction of a five story 30-unit apartment building when timber planks he was standing on apparently collapsed, causing his body to violently crash all the way down to the basement floor. The crash thundered throughout the work site, spreading panic among Buyes’ co-workers. Co-workers raced to the basement to find Buyes and pull him out of the hole in the unfinished basement. They brought him to a secure location and placed him in as comfortable a position as possible. Witnesses initially thought Buyes was dead but he began moving his extremities shortly after emergency personnel arrived. Soon thereafter, he began to speak, easing some of his co-workers concerns. Still, it was apparent that Buyes fractured all of his extremities and many other bones. Buyes was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital where he is undergoing emergency treatment and surgery.
The accident served as a harrowing reminder that construction workers are far too often placed in dangerous working conditions. Safety at construction sites remains an ongoing concern, heightened by the dramatic increase in construction activity throughout New York. Already, questions about the safety record of this project have surfaced. A prior general contractor amassed more than $800,000 in safety related fines before being removed from the job. Investigators will be looking to determine why this happened.
- Were workers given a safe place to work?
- More specifically, was a safety harness available and provided to Mr. Buyes?
- Was there an appropriate location for Buyes to safely tie-off his harness and potentially arrest his fall?
- Was the flooring where Mr. Buyes was required to work structurally sound and safe?
- Were the planks inspected?
- Were they laying loose or fastened to the structure?
- What amount of weight were the planks capable of withstanding?
These are all questions that investigators will be seeking answers to. Temporary flooring is a potential hazard that a general contractor must ensure is safe and capable of supporting the weight of the workers, tools and machinery. We envision a damning finding that concludes that the planks were an obvious risk for workers to be laboring on and that they were unsafe for this project. The fall protection question is difficult to forecast at this juncture. Stay tuned.
In the interim, we wish Mr. Buyes a speedy recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family, friends and co-workers.
Worker safety is a pressing concern in New York. Even in the safest of circumstances workers at construction sites are constantly staring down perilous conditions. Laws in our state require general contractors, owners and wealthy developers to take appropriate measures to make sure that a work site is as safe as possible and that workers are afforded the opportunity to use the right equipment and safety devices so that tragic accidents like this can be eliminated. If you or someone you care about has been involved in a serious construction accident it is in your best interest to contact a seasoned construction accident lawyer. Block O’Toole & Murphy has been representing injured workers and their families for decades. The attorneys at the firm enjoy the opportunity to help a family in a vulnerable position and give them a chance to resume their life in a comfortable manner.
They do it with hard work, experience, determination and talent. Their results inside and outside of the courtroom are the best evidence of what these gifted lawyers are capable of. They have recovered nearly $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for their clients.
You may call them at 212.736.5300 any time for a free consultation.