A fatal construction accident in Manhattan late last month claimed the life of a 27-year old hardhat. Rodolfo Vasquez-Galain was working at a jobsite in the Garment District-building a new hotel from the ground up–when a massive improperly secured slab of concrete, weighing tons, apparently fell from a higher floor and came down on him. He was crushed from the waist down. His fellow workers rushed to his aid and tried but failed to lift the slab off of him. Firefighters arrived on scene within minutes. He was declared dead at the scene.
Firefighters quickly evacuated the area-including surrounding buildings-fearing that structures at the construction site or surrounding buildings were unstable. Building inspectors were called in and a work stoppage was ordered which remained in effect until the Department of Buildings completed its accident investigation.
It’s unclear at this point exactly what happened but reports from fellow construction workers say Vasquez-Galain was involved in “routine” operations-which may have involved some excavation of the surrounding ground–when the slab came loose and fell. It appeared to have fallen from the corner of an upper floor of the partially constructed hotel.
Falling objects at construction sites remain one of the top killers of workers-what OSHA calls the Fatal Five. While hardhats and proper safety procedures can minimize the risk of injuries caused by falling objects, nothing can ever eliminate the danger altogether.
In these kinds of situation, the New York Labor Law will find the property owner and general contractor for the project strictly liable for the construction workers’ injuries. The worker will only have to prove that the object causing the injuries actually fell from the building.
If you or a loved one has been injured by falling objects in New York construction sites, contact a construction accident attorney immediately. One of the first steps is to conduct an in-depth investigation of the accident. The longer you wait, the harder it may become to find relevant facts and evidence to support your claim. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122 to learn your rights.