Worker Seriously Injured by Falling Beam at Harlem Construction Site

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

A construction worker was seriously injured after a beam fell on him and pinned him to the ground at a construction site in East Harlem on Friday September 29, 2017, as reported by the New York Post. The incident occurred on Third Avenue near East 125th Street.

The beam that fell was approximately 20 feet above ground, according to an eyewitness who was also an employee. The beam likely came loose after the cable holding it snapped.

According to the Fire Department, the construction worker was taken to Harlem Hospital Center in critical condition.

This is a tragic – and likely preventable – incident. We wish the worker a full and speedy recovery.

Unfortunately, occurrences like this are not uncommon in New York City, where occupational deaths and injuries in the construction sector are on the rise in recent years. A few months earlier, another worker was in critical condition after he was pinned underneath by a 7-ton hammer when the crane cable holding the I-beam snapped. A little less than a year ago, two construction workers were killed in Queens when a steel beam plummeted four stories and struck them.

In last Friday’s case, some questions arise as to whether or not the employer took proper measures to make sure serious accidents did not occur:

  • Was the beam properly secured to prevent it from falling?
  • Was the worker provided proper protection against falling objects? In certain cases such as steel erection, all construction work below must be stopped, unless there was overhead protection for employees (OSHA Regulations 1926.759b).
  • Have the cables been inspected by a qualified person before the shift began?
  • According to OSHA: “A competent person must begin a visual inspection prior to each shift the equipment is used, which must be completed before or during that shift.”

If the cable was not properly inspected or if it showed signs of being hazardous to workers in any way, the employer will be liable for damages to the worker. Signs that cables are a hazard to workers include:

  • Significant corrosion
  • Significant distortion of the wire, including birdcaging, kinking, crushing, etc.
  • Corroded, bent, or worn end connections
  • Visibly broken wires
  • Prior electric contact
  • Heat damage
  • Diameter reduction

To see the complete list, please visit OSHA’s wire rope inspection section of their website.

Accidents on construction sites are serious. Workers continue to work from heights, with heavy machinery and on buildings that are being constructed or renovated. In an industry where work conditions can potentially pose serious dangers at every turn, employers have the responsibility to abide by OSHA rules to make sure incidents like these do not occur.

If you’ve been hurt in a work accident on a construction site, it’s important to speak with a legal professional to see if you can get compensation for your injuries. Block O’Toole & Murphy has recovered nearly eighty $1,000,000+ verdicts and settlements for workers in construction accidents, including cases involving workers being hurt by beams falling from above. Notable case results include:

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a work accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. Simply call 212-736-5300 or fill out our Contact Form for a FREE consultation with a construction injury attorney. Learn your legal rights today.


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