A construction worker in Jamaica, Queens was crushed to death by a forklift on a construction site which was under an active Stop Work Order (SWO) due to multiple safety violations.
Edgar Pazmino, a 34-year-old immigrant from Ecuador, was standing on the back of a forklift which his coworker was driving when he hit his head on a low-clearance ceiling. Sadly, Pazmino’s head was crushed and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Although this site was under an active SWO at the time of the accident, as reported by ABC 7, these orders do not ban workers from transporting and storing materials at the site, which is what Pazmino was doing on that fateful day.
Pazmino had been employed by Westside Windows for about a year, during which time he repeatedly expressed concerns about the safety of the working conditions on the jobsite.
“He used to say it was very dangerous to work there. He told me this last Saturday,” Pazmino’s brother-in-law told the New York Daily News. “‘There’s not enough security. One of these days I’m not going to survive.’ He was afraid of dying. He always complained about it.”
Our hearts go out to the friends and family of Edgar Pazmino during this trying time.
There is now an active Department of Buildings (DOB) investigation to determine the exact cause of this forklift accident. This construction accident is more evidence that forklifts are dangerous machines that should only be operated in accordance with all relevant safety measures.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) offers numerous guidelines for the safe use of forklifts. During their investigation, the DOB will check that the operator observed the following guidelines:
- Drive carefully to avoid collisions or tip-overs when turning corners
- Maintain a clear line of sight in the direction you are driving, especially when reversing
- Use the horn at crossings or other places where operator view might be obstructed
- Come to a complete stop before changing directions
- Anticipate the rear-end swing of the forklift and take turns as tightly as possible
- Never turn on an incline or decline, or with the forks elevated
- Do not exceed the stated load capacity of the forklift
Despite the OSHA’s extensive regulations for all kinds of construction work, accidents such as this are all-too-common in New York City, with construction deaths hitting a 14-year high in 2016. So many of these accidents and deaths should be preventable, yet oftentimes laborers are at the mercy of employers more concerned with saving time and money than they are with worker safety.
For this reason, it’s essential that workers are aware of their rights and basic OSHA safety regulations so that they can report dangerous safety violations when they become aware of them.
When that isn’t enough, and construction accidents happen, you will need an experienced personal injury attorney at your side to help fight for your rights. The attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy specialize in personal injury law and have extensive experience in litigating construction accidents; and with nearly 90 construction accident recoveries that exceed $1,000,000 each, we have proven our knowledge and tenacity in this field time and time again.
To read more about our successful results in trying and settling construction accident cases, visit our Construction Accident Verdicts and Settlements page.