Ironworker Kelly Gluchowski was seriously injured after she was electrocuted while working on a construction project on Saturday, March 13, 2021.
The incident occurred at the Mineola station along the Long Island Rail Road, around 9:30 a.m. Gluchowski was standing on a pedestrian bridge that is being constructed over the tracks when a crane struck a high-voltage power line nearby. The power line “created an arc” to the pedestrian bridge, causing Gluchowski to become seriously injured, according to Janno Lieber, MTA’s president of Construction and Development.
Police reported that paramedics performed CPR on the injured worker at the scene before she was rushed to the hospital. She was originally listed in critical condition, but has since been updated to stable condition. She and her loved ones are in our thoughts after this harrowing accident; we sincerely hope she makes a full and speedy recovery.
Lieber stated that all work on this project has stopped while the MTA performs a full investigation into the incident. They are also reviewing all safety protocols and procedures that were in place at the site. According to a Newsday article, this was the second accident that occurred at the Mineola station within a week; on Monday, March 8, an LIRR building was demolished and collapsed onto a nearby building with workers inside. No one was injured in that incident, but it does call into question the safety of this work site.
In the course of the accident investigation, the MTA reported that the contractor that had been managing this project did not follow certain safety protocols: they did not have a “safe work plan,” and utilized equipment that was not approved for use. Not only is this incredibly irresponsible, and a worker was injured as a result, it is against New York’s Industrial Code.
Part 23 of the New York Department of Labor’s Industrial Code lists the many requirements that contractors, employers, owners, and anyone else involved in the management of a construction site must fulfill to provide a safe work site for employees. The “general responsibility of employers” is listed as ensuring the site where construction takes place is “constructed, equipped, arranged, operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection for the lives, health and safety” of workers or anyone else who frequents the construction site.
Not only that, but a subsection of the Industrial Code provides stipulations for keeping workers safe when they may be in contact with electrical hazards. The code states that, as a precaution, all power lines near construction sites should be considered to be energized until the representative or owner of the power line gives confirmation that it is de-energized. Additionally, the code states that no employee should be allowed to work in proximity to part of any power circuit, unless it is certain that the employee will be protected from electrocution by a de-energizing of the power line or other protective means.
These are just a couple of the required safety procedures in the Industrial Code. It is clear that there are many precautions that should be taken to protect the lives of workers on construction sites, especially when there are electrical hazards involved. If these precautions are not taken and an accident results, the responsible party may be found liable.
Contractors and those who manage work sites have a responsibility to ensure the employees on those sites are working in a safe environment. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident on a construction site, electrocution or otherwise, you may be able to obtain compensation for the damages if negligence played a role in the accident. Notable results we have attained for clients include:
- $5,500,000 settlement for an electrician who suffered brain damage after he received an electric shock while on a 28-foot ladder, causing him to fall and land on his head
- $5,000,000 settlement for a worker who was electrocuted and rendered unconscious when the jackhammer he was using struck an unmarked electrical box