In a tragic reminder of the dangers facing New York City construction workers, a 58-year-old construction worker died after falling from scaffolding on the outside of a Brooklyn building. As reported in the New York Post, the man was performing work on a building on Nostrand Avenue when he lost his footing and fell from the third floor of the building. He suffered severe trauma from the fall and succumbed to his injuries at Kings County Hospital.
For those who witnessed his death, the terrible images will be hard to shake. According to one witness, as reported by Spectrum News, “he was bleeding from his ears, his nose, his mouth, and gasping for breath.” Another said “I heard a loud noise, and next thing I know I saw him on the ground.”
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the worker’s friends and loved ones, as well as the coworkers and others who bore witness to this terrible tragedy.
The Threat of Negligence on Construction Sites
The worker’s death is still under investigation by city buildings department and police department authorities, so time will tell whether negligence or defective equipment was a factor in this loss.
Unfortunately, far too many construction workers are severely injured or killed each year in accidents that are largely preventable. It is our contention that increased inspections and harsher fines for workplace safety violations could go a long way toward improving the safety conditions workers face. It is no coincidence that the number of injuries and deaths have risen throughout the same time period that inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have become less frequent. This is especially dangerous as NYC continues its construction boom.
If property owners and general contractors are going to continue viewing worker safety through a lens of profit and loss, the financial bite of safety violations must exceed the costs of ensuring worker safety.
Looking Forward To a Safer Future for NYC Construction Workers
At Block O’Toole & Murphy, we fight for construction workers and the families who love them. Sadly, incidents like this tragic loss in Brooklyn show that our work is far from done. Stronger worker safety laws, more frequent site safety inspections, and owners willing to place safety over profits are still necessary to eliminate construction worker deaths in New York City. All of us in the construction industry, the legal community, and the workforce need to share the goal of protecting workers.