A tragic construction accident on Governor’s Island claimed the life of a 55-year old New Yorker and injured two more men last month. The fatally injured man was working for Bedford Construction at the time, rebuilding a section of the seawall on the island when a 15-foot pipe fell on top of him, crushing him to death. Both of the other construction workers injured in the same accident survived and were treated for minor injuries and released from Bellevue Hospital later that same day.
Most construction accidents involving falling objects occur when an improperly secured load comes loose while being lifted by crane or hoist. Still others involve tools and building materials falling from scaffolding and upper stories of the buildings under construction/renovation. However, Friday’s fatal accident was unlike any of these. This particular incident occurred as a forklift was unloading the pipe from a flatbed delivery truck near the ferry terminal.
Though the distance the pipe fell was minimal, the weight of the pipe was enough to fatally injure Abbas Behnam-Bakhs (of Staten Island). Behnam-Bakhs was a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 15 and is survived by family and friends. Many of his co-workers considered Abbas a fine New Yorker and a dedicated family man, speaking out on Facebook to remember their fallen comrade.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating the accident for signs of any wrong-doing, negligence, or improper safety procedures. Unfortunately, this is something they have to do all too often. These types of accident are among the most common in construction zones. In fact, 472 workers died in 2011 after being struck by objects at job sites around the country. 219 of them were killed by falling objects. That’s over 10% of all fatal work-related injuries for the year-regardless of industry.
Now, as the true fallout of the accident settles, Abbas’s family must learn to live without him, a struggle that far too many victims already understand. In tragic incidents like these, New York construction attorneys can help families grieve properly by eliminating some of the financial worry that comes with losing a loved one and the income they brought home. If accidents are caused by negligence, unsafe working conditions, or faulty materials, surviving family members may be entitled to collect compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and more.