Conflicting news reports surrounded a Dec. 21 incident at a construction site in New York City. A series of alarms went off after a man allegedly fell into a construction hole that was estimated to be from 12 to 15 feet deep. It was reported that the injured person may have been a construction worker, but his name and the employer’s name were not revealed in early reports.
The site of the accident was a 21-story apartment building on 29th Street between 7th and 8th avenues. A Fire Department spokesman said that “someone” fell in the hole and he was being checked out in the hospital. The spokesman said that he may have “minor” injuries.
A witness who works in that block reported, however, that the man was a construction worker and that he may have broken legs. The details of how the accident occurred were not immediately described. If it was a construction worker, it will be another statistic in the continually building database of injured or deceased workers in the New York City area.
That database has stimulated debate among interested persons and entities in New York. For example, it is reported that 29 construction workers have died at work sites in 2016 thus far. One city council member complains that after so many deaths in the same industry and the same general circumstances, something must be done.
Whether the authorities will follow through in plans to toughen work safety procedures and enforcement of existing regulations is the question being asked. Currently, progress along those lines has been slow and begrudging. In addition, there is a reported higher number of undocumented immigrants who are exposed to the most dangerous conditions without protective measures or training. Time will tell whether New York can make the changes necessary to modernize construction site management and the way in which the construction worker is protected.
Source: Chelsea, NY Patch, “Chelsea Construction Site Accident: Firefighters Pull Injured Man From Hole”, Simone Wilson, Dec. 21, 2016