NYC Construction Accidents: 2017 Year In Review

Friday, January 5th, 2018

2017 was another busy year in New York City’s seemingly never-ending construction boom. Cranes and scaffolding continue to decorate our city’s landscape, and the sounds of construction continue to fill the air.

As we have written about frequently, construction activity is great for the local economy but also has its risks. Injuries and deaths on construction sites changed the lives of many workers and their loved ones this past year. As we begin looking forward to what we hope will be a safer 2018, let’s take a moment to look back at the construction accidents our city witnessed in 2017.


An alarming report was released, showing that inspections are on the decline as construction fatalities continue to rise. A correlation was also found between smaller construction sites and injuries. Finally, the picture of our city’s 2016’s construction fatalities came into clear focus.

A city committee with occupational safety in its jurisdiction reported that 80 percent of the recent NYC construction-related deaths were at non-union worksites. Tragically, construction workers lost their lives in forklift accidents in Queens and Long Island.


As the calendar turned to March, a construction worker was injured while attempting to avoid a crane.

Unfortunately, crane accidents were a repeating theme in April, as the NYC Buildings Department investigated a fatal crane accident and a worker was pinned under a 7 ton hammer after a crane cable snapped. Later in April, a worker was killed after falling 18 feet on a construction site, and a Manhattan worker was critically injured by electric shock.

A construction worker fell to his death in a scaffolding accident in Brooklyn. That same week saw three workers fall to their death in a Queens accident as the result of heavy construction materials being dropped. Queens was also the site of a scaffold collapse that injured six construction workers.


In July, a worker in Manhattan suffered severe injuries as a result of being crushed by an elevator. It took nearly an hour for rescue crews to free him from a mess of wire and debris in the aftermath of the accident. Later that month, an electrician was found dead in a Hell’s Kitchen elevator. Authorities believe that he was crushed while trying to exit the elevator after it stopped operating due to a power outage.

A worker was injured in a fall from a roof in Brooklyn Heights in August. He was replacing shingles on a 184-year-old building when he fell two stories and landed on his head. Elevators claimed another life, as a worker who was stripping a building’s elevator shaft fell 20 feet into the basement.


As the weather cooled and the scenery changed, our city continued to be a dangerous place for construction workers to make a living.

In September, a construction worker was killed in a fall at a luxury building in Manhattan. As the calendar flipped to October, a falling beam in Harlem seriously injured a worker. Two workers in the Bronx suffered serious injuries after falling through a gap in the scaffolding they were working on, six workers were hurt in a Crown Heights roof collapse, and a worker lost his life while installing solar panels in Corona, Queens. He fell from the roof, suffering severe head trauma that ultimately took his life.

What You Need To Know To Protect Yourself In 2018

As we’ve detailed here, 2017 was a tragic year for construction workers and their families in New York City. We hope that 2018 can be as safe as 2017 was dangerous, but it is important to be prepared in case tragedy strikes.

If you or someone you love is hurt in a construction accident, the lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy offer a free legal consultation. You can contact us by calling 212-736-5300 to speak with an experienced attorney about your rights, including your right to financial compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost earnings.

The personal injury lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy are skilled at litigating construction accident cases and have recovered numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for injured workers. To learn more about our results for construction workers, please visit our Construction Accident Verdicts and Settlements page.


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