Last Wednesday, a New York City construction worker sadly died from injuries sustained in an on-the-job fall — making it the most recent in a long string of worker fatalities over the last few years.
One of the most tragic aspects of this particular construction worker death is that it could easily have been prevented, at least according to city officials. In fact, in a recent New York Daily News report, Rick Chandler, the city Buildings Commissioner was quoted as saying, “We think it was completely preventable.”
The accident occurred when the construction worker, a 59-year-old Sunset Park man, fell from an I-beam as he was helping to remove part of a steel deck from a slab on a construction site at 1604 Broadway. He ultimately died from his injuries at Mount Sinai West.
According to Chandler, ties offs should been used with the worker’s personal protection equipment, which he was wearing at the time. As the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) posted a stop work order at the construction site, Chandler told reporters, “We shut the job down, and it’s going to be shut down for some time. We have to get the message out to these contractors that this building is not worth anybody’s life.”
Chandler added that it is upsetting to see the risks contractors take with their workers’ safety, and that these actions are simply unacceptable.
Fortunately, Chandler also mentioned that the Building Department will be stepping up safety inspections — a move that comes as welcomed news to construction safety advocates, albeit a little later than many would have liked.
For instance, a report recently issued by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health found that the fatal injury rate for construction workers in New York City is nearly five times that of all workers. Even worse, construction-related fatalities increased a nearly 50 percent from 2011 to 2015. Hopefully, these increased safety inspections will help make construction sites less hazardous for workers.