Preview: NYC Personal Injury Lawyer Blog
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Roofing company cited after a worker falls when roof collapses
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited a roofing company for 12 serious safety violations at a worksite after a worker fell when the roof collapsed. The citation, announced earlier this month, involves $33,600 in proposed penalties. OSHA…
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited a roofing company for 12 serious safety violations at a worksite after a worker fell when the roof collapsed. The citation, announced earlier this month, involves $33,600 in proposed penalties.
OSHA inspected the site after police contact the agency about a worker who had fallen from the roof to the third-floor of a building. The worksite was in New Jersey, part of OSHA’s Region 2, which includes New York. OSHA found that the company had committed numerous violations, including:
- Failing to develop an accident prevention program
- Failing to have a system for frequent and regular safety inspections
- Failing to provide safety training for roofing workers
- Failing to provide eye protection for workers who are exposed to roofing adhesives, which contain chemical hazards
- Failing to inspect the structural integrity of roofs
- Failing to provide fall protection
- Failing to provide adequate ladders
The company had 15 days to comply or contest the citations.
Safety regulations exist to protect workers from falls and other serious accidents in the workplace. Following these regulations can help prevent serious or fatal accidents. But when construction companies ignore federal, state or city safety regulations, the risk of serious or fatal construction accidents can increase.
Source: OSHA, “Hamilton, NJ, roofing company cited by US Labor Department’s OSHA for fall, other safety hazards following April incident,” Sept. 11, 2013
- Our law firm represents workers who have been involved in construction accidents in New York City. For more information, visit our page on falls from heights.
New bike sharing program has eight accidents since start in May
New York City’s new bicycle sharing program has been popular. Citi Bike began May 29 with 6,000 bicycles and 330 docking stations in the city. Over Memorial Day weekend, nearly 10,000 people registered to use the distinctive blue bikes. According…
New York City’s new bicycle sharing program has been popular. Citi Bike began May 29 with 6,000 bicycles and 330 docking stations in the city. Over Memorial Day weekend, nearly 10,000 people registered to use the distinctive blue bikes. According to an article in the New York Daily News, Citi Bike had grown to nearly 247,000 users by mid-to-late August, and riders had taken about 2.4 million trips.
The bike sharing program has been closely watched both by observers who believe the program will lead to an increase in bike accidents as well as advocates who say that increasing the city’s bicycle presence will actually make the streets safer. So far, according to the New York City Department of Transportation, the bike program has not led to a rash of bicycle accidents.
Data released to the newspaper shows that since the program started there had been eight accidents involving Citi Bike riders. An NYCDOT spokeswoman told the newspaper that there had been 604 accidents involving bicycles in July, slightly up from 559 in 2012, including car-bike accidents. During the month of July, the NYPD reported 470 injuries and no deaths. In July 2012, it reported 446 people injured and three deaths.
A bike advocate told the newspaper that bike safety is improving because Citi Bikes have made drivers more aware of bicycles in general. He also says the speed of bikes has slowed because Citi Bikes are not designed to travel quickly.
Only eight Citi Bike accidents over millions of miles is positive news for the city. Even relatively minor bike accidents can cause serious injuries. That’s because bike riders have less protection than motor vehicles, and they are more likely to be seriously injured in accidents as a result.
Source: New York Daily News, “Pedal power encounters some bumps in the road in New York City,” Sept. 16, 2013
Car accident damages scaffolding and sends four to the hospital
Scaffolding should be safe for workers and passersby, but it can quickly become dangerous. In some cases, the scaffolding may have been improperly installed or negligently maintained. The scaffold may be defective. In other cases, outside forces intervene. In one…
Scaffolding should be safe for workers and passersby, but it can quickly become dangerous. In some cases, the scaffolding may have been improperly installed or negligently maintained. The scaffold may be defective. In other cases, outside forces intervene. In one recent case in which New York scaffolding became damaged, a crash sent an SUV careening into scaffolding on a building, creating a chaotic accident scene.
The accident happened near the United Nations on 42nd Street and First Avenue one recent afternoon. An SUV and a taxi crashed on 42nd Street. The impact of the collision sent the SUV into scaffolding on a building nearby. As a result, the second of the scaffolding started to come apart. It hung overhead at the accident site.
In the meantime, three people in the vehicles were hurt. News reports said that the driver of the SUV had a leg injury. The driver of the taxi and a passenger were also injured. In addition, a bicyclist was hit in the accident. A witness saw the bicyclist laying on the ground when ambulances and fire trucks arrived.
A fire department official says the accident scene was initially very dangerous, with four accident victims below precariously hanging scaffolding. But those involved in the accident were transported to hospitals for treatment, and there were no reports of passersby or construction workers being in harm’s way. Crews appeared later that day to begin repairing the scaffolding.
- Our law firm represents people who have been injured in car accidents and construction accidents. To learn more about our law firm, visit our page on car accidents.
Source: CBS New York, “4 People Hurt After SUV Crashes Into Scaffolding In Manhattan,” Sept. 5, 2013
Construction jobs are among the nation’s deadliest occupations
Construction sites of all kinds present serious dangers, including construction accidents caused by falls, heavy machinery and weather. It’s no wonder, then, that construction-related occupations made up three of the top 10 deadliest jobs in the U.S., according to information…
Construction sites of all kinds present serious dangers, including construction accidents caused by falls, heavy machinery and weather. It’s no wonder, then, that construction-related occupations made up three of the top 10 deadliest jobs in the U.S., according to information released by the Bureau of Labor statistics.
· Roofers have the fourth deadliest job in the U.S., with about 70 fatalities in 2012, according to preliminary estimates. That number gives roofers a fatality rate of 40.5 per 100,000 workers. The dangers of these jobs come from heights, summer heat and other factors.
- Structural iron and steel workers, who mold and set metal construction materials, have the fifth most dangerous job in the U.S. About 22 of these workers died in 2012, for a fatality rate of 37 deaths per 100,000 workers.
- Construction laborers have the tenth most dangerous job in the U.S. Their jobs often involve heavy physical labor at construction sites, which put them at risk of fatal accidents from tools, equipment and heavy machinery. About 210 workers died in 2012, which give this job a fatality rate of 17.4 fatalities per 100,000 full time workers.
Other dangerous jobs include loggers, fishers, aircraft pilots, garbage and recycling collectors, electrical power-line installers, drivers and truck drivers, and farmers.
The list of top 10 most dangerous jobs comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ national Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Overall, the census shows that the number of fatal accidents in the U.S. fell slightly in 2012, with 4,383 deaths in 2010. In 2011, there were 4,693 deaths.
If a loved one has been killed in a construction accident, you may be able to obtain compensation for your losses and pain and suffering. An experienced New York wrongful death attorney can explain your options.
Source: Forbes, “America’s 10 Deadliest Jobs,” Jacquelyn Smith, August 22, 2013
New York taxi driver blames bike for crash that injured tourist
New York taxi drivers have a reputation for being aggressive and fast. They can be dangerous pedestrians. After one recent taxi-pedestrian accident, however, the taxi driver is blaming the accident on another fixture of New York City street – a…
New York taxi drivers have a reputation for being aggressive and fast. They can be dangerous pedestrians. After one recent taxi-pedestrian accident, however, the taxi driver is blaming the accident on another fixture of New York City street – a bike messenger.
The taxi driver was on Sixth Avenue near Radio City Music at the time of the accident. He said a hostile bike messenger caused his cab to jump the curb, crashing into a 23-year-old woman visiting New York. He says he did not see the bike messenger until the messenger banged on his car.
The pedestrian received serious injuries to her legs and was rushed to surgery at a hospital. Surgeons there were unable to save her left foot, which had to be amputated.
The taxi driver was licensed by the Taxi and License Commission, which may suspend his license. He is not facing criminal charges, but he did receive a ticket for not being authorized to drive the vehicle he was in.
The president of the union that represents taxi drivers has called for more regulations on bike messengers as a result of the accident. He says bike riders should be required to be licensed, register their bikes and carry insurance.
On the other hand, a New York bike advocacy group blames the taxi driver for the accident. It also opposes new regulations on bike messengers until the investigation is complete.
Earlier, the police commissioner had said the investigation was continuing, and that the city planned to use technicians to reconstruct the scene. No matter whether the taxi driver, bike messenger or both were to blame, one thing is clear: The injured woman faces a long, expensive rehabilitation for her injuries.
Source: CBS New York, “Taxi Driver Advocate: Bike Messenger To Blame For Shocking Accident,” Aug. 24, 2013
- Our law firm represents people who have been injured or lost loved ones in car accidents in New York, including taxi-pedestrian accidents. Visit our pedestrian accidents page for more information.
Family will receive $1 million for man’s death in crane accident
The parents of a man killed in a Manhattan crane accident last year will receive $1 million to end a wrongful death claim over the fatal construction accident. According to the New York Daily News, the insurance company representing the…
The parents of a man killed in a Manhattan crane accident last year will receive $1 million to end a wrongful death claim over the fatal construction accident. According to the New York Daily News, the insurance company representing the company that owned the crane agreed to settle the lawsuit. The company has not admitted wrongdoing in the settlement.
Their son, a 30-year-old New Jersey man, was working on the No. 7 subway extension project when he was killed in April 2012. He was working below the crane when the crane operator swung a giant boom that was supposed to lift rebar. The wire-rope on the 160-foot boom snapped as the operator swung it into place. The construction worker was killed and four others injured in the crane accident.
Afterward, an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that the contractor had not properly inspected the crane. It issued 10 violations and $68,000 in fines, which the company is contesting. The company says that there were adequate inspections.
The construction worker’s mother says the $1 million settlement will not compensate her for her losses, because the firm is still operating and her son is gone.
As the mother points out, no amount of money can compensate for the loss of a loved one in a construction accident. Money damages can, however, help families recover for expenses as a result of the accident and reduce the significant financial pressures that families may face after a fatal accident.
Source: New York Daily News, “EXCLUSIVE: Parents of construction worker killed in crane accident given $1 million settlement,” Greg B. Smith, Aug. 20, 2013
Worker in aerial lift injured when truck falls over
Construction workers have a risk of falling any time they are suspended in the air, and the falls can happen for many reasons. In one recent accident, a construction worker was injured when a truck fell over while he worked…
Construction workers have a risk of falling any time they are suspended in the air, and the falls can happen for many reasons. In one recent accident, a construction worker was injured when a truck fell over while he worked from an aerial bucket attached to it.
The man was a worker for the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). He was working on power lines inside tree branches in Plainview at the time of the construction accident. The man was suspended from an aerial bucket attached to the truck when the truck toppled about 8:50 a.m. He fell to the ground and was injured.
Emergency crews responded and treated the injured worker. He was placed on a gurney and taken to the trauma unit of a hospital. His condition and identity were not immediately identified. LIPA was using a specialized crane to place the truck upright, and authorities were on scene. The cause of the accident had not yet been determined.
Construction accidents like this one can have many causes. A worker – or more than one worker – may make an error or be distracted. A truck may have defective equipment or be improperly maintained.
The cause of an accident is important. If a third party, such as a manufacturer or a person not employed by the worker’s company contributed to the accident, the injured worker may be able to hold that person accountable through a third-party claim for money damages for their losses.
Source: Farmingdale Patch, “LIPA Worker Injured Nearby After Truck Tips Over,” Joe Dowd, Aug. 9, 2013
- Our law firm represents workers who have been injured in construction accidents. To learn more about our practice, see our page on falls from heights.
OSHA will not investigate after two workers fell from ladders
After a construction accident, it’s expected that employees will have workers’ compensation benefits and that government agencies will investigate. But as one recent ladder accident shows, that’s not always the case. Whether a worker is an employee and whether government…
After a construction accident, it’s expected that employees will have workers’ compensation benefits and that government agencies will investigate. But as one recent ladder accident shows, that’s not always the case. Whether a worker is an employee and whether government agencies can get involved depends on the circumstances of the accident.
The accident happened when two men were working on a garage. They were working on ladders about 20 to 25 feet from the ground when both fell separately from the ladders. Both were seriously injured and were flown to a medical center for treatment.
Police said a 50-year-old man could be paralyzed as a result of the accident. A 30-year-old man was apparently less seriously injured, although the hospital was not releasing information about his condition.
Neither the state Labor Department nor the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will look into the matter. The area director for OSHA said his agency had determined that the three men worked as partners, and there was no employer-employee relationship. OSHA protects employees, and if there were no employees, there is nothing for the agency to inspect, the director says.
Maine, where the accident occurred, also does not have jurisdiction over the accident, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Labor said. She says the accident raises questions of worker misclassification that can leave workers without workers’ compensation coverage in the event of an accident.
It can be difficult to tell whether a worker is an employee, contractor or partner, and the effect on a worker’s benefits and ability to sue can be enormous. This is one reason why it’s important to consult an experienced construction accident attorney to find out your legal rights and options after a construction accident.
Source: Bangor Daily News, “Federal, state safety agencies won’t investigate Richmond ladder accident,” Beth Brogan, July 29, 2013
- Our law firm represents clients who have been injured in New York City construction accidents. Visit our page onladder accidents and fallsfor more information.
Family says boaters in fatal New York accident were not drunk
Was a fatal boat crash in New York due to a drunk driver or a poorly lighted construction barge? The accident happened when a 19-foot speed boat with members of an upcoming wedding party crashed into a construction barge on…
Was a fatal boat crash in New York due to a drunk driver or a poorly lighted construction barge?
The accident happened when a 19-foot speed boat with members of an upcoming wedding party crashed into a construction barge on the Hudson River. A 30-year-old bride to be and a 30-year-old best man were killed. Others on the boat were injured.
The 35-year-old skipper of the boat was charged with vehicular manslaughter. Authorities claimed he was intoxicated when he got behind the wheel, but two of the families involved say the crash was not a drunk-driving accident. They released a statement saying that the people aboard the boat were professionals in their 30s who had consumed little alcohol before taking off in the boat.
One person aboard the boat apparently said that no one could see lights on the barge. The families were asking other boaters on the river at the time to contact them.
Officials said that the warning lights on the barge were working when the crash happened. They have now added additional lighting. The barge had construction materials for a new bridge over the river.
The accident shows how complex tragic accidents can be. After a fatal accident – whether in a boat or a car accident – family members, law enforcement officials and others need answers. But motor vehicle accidents can be complicated, and the causes of a collision may not be immediately apparent. A thorough investigation into a motor vehicle accident can take time, but it is critical for a case.
Source: New York Daily News, “Families of Hudson River boating victims claims passengers didn’t see barge, were sober in statement,” Erik Badia and Larry McShane, July 31, 2013
Are three hit-and-run bicycle accidents related?
Bicycling can be perilous. Although bicyclists helmets for protection, they have fewer protections in accidents than the unpredictable taxis, cars and trucks that they face on New York streets. Adding to the dangers are careless or distracted drivers. These dangers…
Bicycling can be perilous. Although bicyclists helmets for protection, they have fewer protections in accidents than the unpredictable taxis, cars and trucks that they face on New York streets. Adding to the dangers are careless or distracted drivers. These dangers alone should be enough, but in some cases, bicycle riders must deal with hostile drivers as well.
A city in another state, the police suspect that bicycle riders are facing a threat worse than hostile drivers. They suspect that a series of hit-and-run bicycle accidents are intentional. In the latest bicycle accident, a 29-year-old woman was riding her bike home after working long hours at a brewing company. According to witnesses, a dark vehicle struck her from behind, dragged her for more than a block, and fled the scene.
Neighbors called 911 immediately, but the woman died at a hospital a short time later. It was July 5 of this year.
On June 28 last year, a 31-year-old woman was hit by a dark vehicle in the same area of town. She broke her leg. On July 5, 2010, a 39-year-old woman was hit by a dark vehicle in the same area. She had minor injuries.
The police chief says the cases may be related. The FBI and the state police are now assisting in the investigation.
Meanwhile, friends and family of the woman who was killed say they are not letting anger overshadow their friend. More than 1,500 people turned out for a bicycle procession through the city last week. Her husband of just under a year says he hopes police can prevent someone from being in a similar bike crash. He says the only thing he can do is promote love, because that is how his wife lived her life.
Source: The Detroit News, “Cyclist’s death pulls Traverse City together,” Marney Rich Keenan, July 17, 2013
Worker dies when pipe falls on him at New York construction site
A worker at a New York construction site has died after being crushed by a pipe at a construction site. The construction site is at Governors Island, the 127-acre former military base that is being turned into parkland. The new…
A worker at a New York construction site has died after being crushed by a pipe at a construction site. The construction site is at Governors Island, the 127-acre former military base that is being turned into parkland.
The new park is in the first phase of a $250 million construction project. The worker, 55, was among workers who were unloading large pipes from a flatbed truck at the site. As a forklift unloaded the pipes, a 15-foot long, 6,000-pound pipe broke free and landed on the worker. Police said the man died at the scene. They are investigating what led to the accident with the falling object, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can also be expected to investigate.
Being hit by falling objects is a significant source of injury and death at construction sites. Injuries may include head and brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones and other serious injuries. Falling objects are also a significant source of fatal accidents. According to the OSHA, 10 percent of fatal construction accidents in 2011 were from being struck by falling objects.
Despite strict state and federal safety laws designed to keep construction workers safe, the construction industry remains dangerous. OSHA estimates that 17 percent of the fatal work accidents in 2011 involved construction. More than half of those falls came from four causes, including being struck by falling objects.
Sources: Staten Island Advance, “Pipe falls from truck, crushing Staten Island construction worker to death on Governors Island,” Ken Paulsen, July 5, 2013; Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Commonly Used Statistics
Worker killed in fall from scaffold at foundry
Scaffolds are a necessity at many construction sites in New York and other cities. Although they are common, they pose dangers from falls, scaffolding collapses and other mishaps. For that reason, a web of state and federal laws and regulations…
Scaffolds are a necessity at many construction sites in New York and other cities. Although they are common, they pose dangers from falls, scaffolding collapses and other mishaps. For that reason, a web of state and federal laws and regulations govern the construction and use of scaffolds. Despite these regulations, workers are still killed in construction accidents.
In one recent fatal scaffolding accident, a worker in another state fell to his death from a scaffold. The 45-year-old man was working on the structure at a foundry when he lost his footing and fell. He was not wearing any protection to protect him from falls, despite federal regulations that generally require protection.
At this point, neither the companies involved nor government regulators are saying who is at fault for the accident. An investigation is underway to determine what happened. The foundry, the company that employed the worker and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are investigating, which could take several months.
One issue under investigation is what kind of protection against falls the site was required to have and why the worker was not wearing any. A spokesman for the department of labor in that state says that the requirements can depend on the job site. The foundry and the man’s employer said that he had participated in a safety meeting recently and had been instructed on fall protection.
If the companies violated regulations, they could be fined or face other penalties. Depending on state laws and the circumstances of the case, the family of the victim could be entitled to money damages. Each state handles the matter differently; New York’s scaffolding law provides more protection for workers than in many states.
Source: WFIE, “Investigation continues into accidental death at Tell City foundry,” Nick LaGrange, July 8, 2013
Effect of bike sharing program on accident rates is uncertain
Could New York City’s new bicycle-sharing program, Citi Bike, lead to a spike in bicycle accidents in the coming months and years? Or, could it actually help calm traffic? The answer to these questions could affect the safety of thousands…
Could New York City’s new bicycle-sharing program, Citi Bike, lead to a spike in bicycle accidents in the coming months and years? Or, could it actually help calm traffic? The answer to these questions could affect the safety of thousands of commuters and tourists looking for a way to get around Manhattan and other boroughs. Because the program is so new, the answer depends on which expert is asked.
On one hand, some experts predict a significant increase in bicycle accidents as the program becomes fully operational. The bike-sharing program could accommodate as many as 10,000 people, including many tourists.
Helmets are not required to ride the bikes, and cyclists already face significant hazards on New York’s roads. The city has laid miles of bike lanes designed to keep bicycle riders out of traffic, but these are often blocked by vehicles. Bicyclists must also deal with buses, cabs and distracted pedestrians.
One public policy professor predicts that these hazards, combined with the potential for inexperienced bike riders using the system, could cause the number of bicycle accidents to double or triple in the first year of the program.
Others are more optimistic. Some research supports an idea that bicycle-sharing programs can actually make traffic safer. This is because drivers may be more cautious when bikers are sharing the roads with them.
Which will it be? As the program continues to expand, New York’s bicyclists will find out. The program recently opened with 6,000 bikes available to rent, and the city plans to expand the program to 10,000 bikes.
Source: The Associated Press, “No helmets required for bike share in busy NYC,” Bethan McKernan, July 1, 2013
Bridge painters will now wear personal alarm systems
A device used to keep firefighters safe could also help prevent injuries and deaths among painters at a jobsite in New York. Workers who are involved in the lengthy process of blasting paint off a steel bridge and repainting the…
A device used to keep firefighters safe could also help prevent injuries and deaths among painters at a jobsite in New York. Workers who are involved in the lengthy process of blasting paint off a steel bridge and repainting the structure will be required to wear personal alarm systems, the New York State Bridge Authority announced recently. The systems could protect the workers in the event of falls from heights or other construction accidents.
The personal alarm systems are small devices that can be configured to send a message to supervisors if a worker intentionally pushes the button, remains inactive for a short period of time or if the safety equipment disconnects. The systems have been used to boost the safety of firefighters and others in dangerous occupations. The cost is about $900 a unit.
The devices were added after two construction worker accidents on the bridge. In May, two painters employed by a contractor fell off a steel sheet and were caught by their safety harnesses. They were rescued within a few minutes. The accident was blamed on poor coordination between two crews working within the containment system, which is designed to prevent paint particles and dust from leaving the worksite.
In June, another painter for the contractor was found suspended by his safety harness next to a site where he had been removing paint. He was under the deck of the bridge and inside the containment area. Authorities do not know how long he had been dangling in the harness. News reports did not provide the extent of any injuries. Authorities are examining how the incident happened, but said there were no equipment or safety device failures.
Source: Poughkeepsie Journal, “Newburgh-Beacon Bridge workers to get safety devices,” June 19, 2013
Workers dangle 500 feet in the air after scaffold malfunctions
Window washers’ lives may depend on the safety of their scaffolds. As workers clean windows many stories above street level, properly manufactured and maintained scaffolds are critical for their safety. Recently, two maintenance workers who were on the scaffolding saw…
Window washers’ lives may depend on the safety of their scaffolds. As workers clean windows many stories above street level, properly manufactured and maintained scaffolds are critical for their safety. Recently, two maintenance workers who were on the scaffolding saw firsthand what can happen when it fails. Fortunately, the workers were not injured during a dramatic rescue that transfixed onlookers. The scaffolding accident shows the dangers that window washers and others in the service business face.
The two workers were trapped when the scaffold broke as they were servicing window-washing equipment outside the top of the Hearst Tower. The work platform that was connected to the scaffolding appeared to snap in the middle. The workers were left dangling 500 feet in the air.
They were already strapped in with safety lines, and rescue workers dropped them additional safety harnesses. Meanwhile, emergency crews removed windows on the 45th floor, toward the top of building, and brought the workers in through the open space. The workers were not injured and received a medical evaluation after the rescue. City and state investigators are examining what caused the equipment to fail.
Six years ago, two window washers were involved in a similar incident when their equipment failed, with far more serious results. In their case, the scaffolding structure fell 47 stories to the pavement. One window washer was killed. The other received serious injuries. He later filed a claim against the company that maintained the window washing scaffold. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the company three violations for improperly installing parts that supported the bed of the scaffold.
Source: The New York Times, “2 Scaffold Workers Rescued From Outside 45th Floor,” Marc Santora, June 12, 2013