Tragically, a preventable elevator accident at a Midtown construction site killed 24-year-old Luis Miguel Duran on Thursday afternoon. The worker was riding in an elevator at 1227 Broadway, a high-rise building between 29th and 30th streets. While approaching the 33rd floor, he was crushed by a metal saddle protruding from the elevator shaft.
According to NBC 4 New York, he had dropped his phone and was reaching for it when he got caught on the metal saddle. The elevator then fell-it is unclear how far-and Duran was crushed. He was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS. Two other people received minor injuries from this accident and were transported to a local hospital, according to the New York Daily News.
Although ABC7 reports that the death appears to be accidental, the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) released a statement saying that it was entirely preventable. “Construction is a dangerous business, which is why the Department enforces some of the most stringent worker safety regulations in the country, and why all people on a construction site should be alert and fully aware of any potential hazards,” they said in the statement. Investigators from the Construction Safety and Elevator Enforcement units of the DOB are investigating the accident.
Duran leaves behind his wife, Jennifer Morta, and her son, as well as his own young daughter. He had come to the United States from the Dominican Republic in 2015, and his body is being sent back to the country for burial, according to a New York Daily News article. A full stop work order has been issued by the DOB for the building Duran was working on at the time of his death.
Another shocking elevator tragedy occurred this past August, when a 30-year-old resident of a luxury apartment building in Kips Bay was crushed to death after trying to exit the building’s elevator and it suddenly dropped, pinning him between the elevator car and shaft.
There had been previous reports and complaints from building residents that the elevators in the building did not work properly and that daily usage posed a threat. Not only that, but the owners of the building had been fined in May by the DOB when inspectors found that one of the elevators had a safety feature that had been disabled or tampered with.
This accident drew renewed attention to an elevator safety bill that was passed in the New York Assembly and the Senate in June, but has yet to be delivered to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk. If signed into law, the bill would require all people who work on elevators to go through training to become licensed. Currently, there are no government-regulated training requirements for elevator mechanics. Although elevator accidents are rare, the ones that do happen could often be prevented if worker and elevator safety was increased.
Elevator accidents like these are not incredibly common, but they are still on the rise, according to a quarterly report released in 2018 from The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR). The report states that elevator-related deaths doubled in number between 2003 and 2016. Additionally, from 2011 to 2016, 145 construction workers died from elevator-related incidents.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an elevator or construction-related accident and want to explore your legal options, please fill out our contact form or call us at 212-736-5300. We offer free, no-obligation legal consultations. Our attorneys have an excellent history of success in construction accident cases. Most recently, Partners Scott Occhiogrosso and Daniel O’Toole obtained a record-breaking verdict of $110,174,972.38 for a client who was injured in a construction accident.