A 51-year-old worker who was doing repair work on a brick building in Manhattan died from his injuries after being struck on the head by a heavy stone slab. According to a report in The New York Times, the horrifying construction accident unfolded just before noon on Monday, April 8, as passers-by stood helplessly below watching the worker who was clinging to scaffolding that dangled against a building on East 50th Street.
Struck by a ‘Coping Stone’
The man was repeatedly yelling in Spanish that he was going to fall. His head was bloodied by a heavy piece of molding that fell and struck him as he was repairing the building’s masonry. Authorities did rescue the man from the scaffold. But, he succumbed to his injuries later at a local hospital. Officials later said the man had been outside the 14-story residence at 311 East 50th Street when he was struck by a “coping stone” that had been removed to anchor the suspended scaffold.
Firefighters had to climb a ladder to reach the man who by then had lost consciousness. They broke a window and pulled the man inside. The man was transported to an area hospital where he died. It is not clear at this point if he was wearing a hard hat or a harness. A second worker who was also on the scaffold at the time was uninjured, but transported to the hospital for observation.
The Times reports that the building owner was granted a permit by the New York City Department of Buildings last year to repair the building’s exterior façade focusing on repairing window structures and repointing, a process involving fixing weathered mortar. Last year, the construction company involved in this project and its owner settled a lawsuit with six demolition workers who said they were entitled to unpaid overtime wages.
The building was also among those damaged 11 years ago by a crane that snapped from its anchors and smashed into an apartment killing seven, including six construction workers. Monday’s incident is a grim reminder that construction workers in the city are still exposed and vulnerable to workplace dangers.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), struck-by objects is one of the four leading causes of construction-related fatalities in the United States. About 75 percent of struck-by fatalities involve heavy equipment such as trucks or cranes. Many of these incidents also involve falling objects that strike workers with a great deal of force causing fatal injuries. OSHA recommends that workers in construction sites use protective gear such as hardhats. Construction sites must also ensure that materials are stacked in a manner that prevents slides, falls and collapses. They should also use protective measures such as toe boards and debris nets to ensure the safety of the crew.
Contractors, construction companies and building owners have a responsibility to ensure that the types of accidents that cause falls, struck-by injuries and other severe trauma to construction workers are prevented. Workers should receive job and safety training in a language they can comprehend. And this information should include how to use personal protective equipment. In addition to fall prevention devices, workers must be provided with other safety equipment such as hard hats, vests, goggles (to prevent eye injuries), etc.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
Workers who are injured in construction accidents may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits, which typically cover medical and drug expenses and a portion of lost wages. Families that have lost loved ones in a construction accident may be able to seek death benefits. In addition, workers and their families may be able to file a third-party lawsuit for substantial money damages against a number of parties, and therefore have two sources of compensation.
Third-party claims are filed against parties other than the employer or co-employees and may include general contractors, sub-contractors, building owners, managing agents, construction companies, etc. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income and benefits, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitative treatment, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.
If you have suffered injuries in a construction accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you. Our law firm recovered $3,375,576 for a construction worker (an undocumented immigrant) who was injured on the job – one of the highest construction case settlements in New York that year.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:
1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
Please visit us at: www.WORK4YOULAW.com
If you found this article useful, please share it!