On April 14, 2023, a construction worker named Noe Diaz-Gamez was tragically killed after falling through a roof he had been working on in Glen Cove, New York. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and loved ones, as the death of a 26-year-old is a profound and senseless loss. Gamez lived in Huntington Station, an area in western Suffolk County only about fifteen miles away from the work site.
According to MSN, the accident happened around 11:50 a.m. at a commercial building located on Garvies Point Road. Patch reports that Gamez had been replacing metal pieces on the roof when he fell through it, landing on the concrete floor below. First responders were unable to treat his serious head injuries, and a police helicopter airlifted him to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. Unfortunately, the damage was so severe that hospital staff could not save his life; he was pronounced dead soon after arrival.
Several authorities have investigated the scene, including the Glen Cove Police Department, the Homicide Bureau of Nassau County, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Lt. John Nagle of Glen Cove Police announced that the fall was a workplace accident, with no evidence of criminality.
The Severe Risks of Roofing Work
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), roofing is one of the most deadly activities for workers. Recent data shows that roofers have a higher fatal injury rate than pilots, steel workers, or drivers, with 47 deaths reported nationally in 2020, and 59 in 2021. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that falls to a lower level (such as from a roof) accounted for over one-third of lethal falls within construction for 2020.
In a horrific event such as the accident in Glen Cove, several factors should be carefully considered. NIOSH specifies some forms of negligence that commonly lead to workers falling from roofs. First, all workers should be provided a stable and safe place to perform their job. When a worker is on a roof, it is incumbent upon those responsible for jobsite safety to confirm that the roof is capable of supporting those working on it. If any part of the roof appears unstable, then this needs to be corrected before a tragic accident occurs. Proper planning and safety evaluation would likely have saved this man’s life.
Fall arrest systems like harnesses may have been either set up incorrectly, or not provided at all. Additionally, a harness is only as effective as its tie-off location. A sturdy and available tie-off point should be provided for each worker laboring at a great height.
Or perhaps there was a lack of training, which can also be hazardous. Finally, no worker should be directed to complete tasks on a roof by themselves. Any of these elements may have contributed to the tragedy on Friday.
While it remains to be seen if the roof caved in, wall and roof collapses are a major concern for construction workers. Any time people are working on a roof, its condition should be inspected beforehand, and regularly monitored for changes caused by weather conditions like heavy rainfall. Collapses can also be traced to various engineering and procedural flaws which push the load-bearing capacity of a structure beyond its limits. OSHA outlines dozens of instances where these errors had devastating consequences for workers.
Proven Justice for Wrongful Death and Construction Accident Victims
While the law cannot solve the horrendous nature of a wrongful death, skilled attorneys can recover significant compensation for the victim’s family. Our construction accident lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy offer an abundance of knowledge, experience, care, and proven results for grieving loved ones.
Some of these results include:
- $15,000,000 settlement for the family of a worker crushed to death in an HVAC hoisting accident
- $13,000,000 settlement in a fatal car crash that killed a little boy and his mother
- $10,500,000 settlement for the family of a construction worker killed on the job
- $7,525,000 settlement in a Long Island wrongful death case after a mother and child lost their lives in a collision
- $7,200,000 settlement for the family of a 25-year-old man who died in an elevator accident
To speak with one of our wrongful death attorneys today, call 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form online. We serve New York and New Jersey.