Prosecutors have filed charges against two construction managers in connection with an East Harlem construction accident in June 2018, which left two ironworkers with disabling injuries. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, prosecutors filed second-degree assault charges against the two employees. The workers were severely injured when a mini-crane that was lifting a glass wall panel at an East Harlem condo project collapsed after its 14-foot-long jib dipped abruptly.
Officials said a “series of bungles” contributed to the accident. The worker who was operating the crane was not trained and the crane wasn’t tethered down. In addition, the crane’s load exceeded the maximum capacity for the way in which it was used. The company also had not followed the Department of Buildings’ (DOB) safety protocols including those that require contractors to submit engineer plans for crane use, officials said.
Prosecutors said the two construction managers had knowingly skirted DOB safety protocols to speed up their project, which caused the devastating, life-changing injuries for the two victims. While most major crane accidents involve larger cranes, smaller cranes like the one involved in the East Harlem accident were introduced more recently to slash costs and speed up construction.
The smaller crane in this particular accident had a lifting capacity of 880 pounds, but the glass panel it was attempting to lift was 1,800 pounds. When the crane collapsed, it crashed into one worker severing his safety harness and pushing him out. He sustained a traumatic brain injury. The other victim was struck in the back when the crane toppled and suffered major spinal cord injuries, officials said.
Common Causes of Crane Accidents
Here are some of the most common causes of NYC crane accidents:
• Inexperienced or untrained operators: Cranes are complex pieces of machinery that require skill and experience to operate. Workers should never be allowed to operate cranes without adequate training and supervision. Construction companies and contractors must ensure that their crane operators have taken OSHA-approved courses on how to safely operate cranes.
• Improper loading: There are weight limits for every type of crane. When an operator attempts to lift too much weight, the crane may collapse or buckle. When a smaller crane is in use, supervisors and managers should ensure that it is not being overloaded. Rushing to finish a construction project should never take precedence over worker safety.
• Mechanical failure: It is extremely important for construction companies and contractors to perform routine crane maintenance. Worn-out parts and components should be promptly replaced.
• Improper assembly: There are proper ways to assemble and to set up cranes. When there are inadequate supports to stabilize the load, the crane may tip over or collapse.
• Dangerous conditions: It is important to know when to halt crane operations because of adverse weather conditions. It is particularly hazardous to use cranes in windy or stormy conditions.
• Defective equipment: Some cranes are simply not designed or assembled correctly. Defective cranes may malfunction even when operated correctly.
• Contact with power lines: When a crane comes in contact with power lines, electrocution may occur.
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 typically 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
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