A tragic construction accident in Manhattan last month claimed the life of a worker who was working inside the elevator shaft inside a building located at 111 E. 24th Street. Just after 9AM on January 23rd the 33-year old victim lost his balance and fell from the ninth floor of the jobsite. The worker was installing a car inside the shaft of the 12-story project (which is slated to become a new high-rise hotel).
Rescue crews were called to the scene but the construction worker was pronounced dead at the scene. The Department of Buildings issued a full stop work order at the site pending results of their construction accident investigations. Official records show the jobsite has been plagued with nearly 20 complaints in just the past year alone.
Workers are required to wear harnesses attached to a fall arrest device to prevent such tragedies. It appears as if this victim was not tied off at the time of the fall. This is not only a serious violation of OSHA standards but also a violation of the New York Labor Law which requires property owners and general contractors to facilitate safety equipment for workers especially for those who work from heights.
The Labor Law was specifically enacted to protect workers by requiring property owners and general contractors of construction sites to have on hand safety equipment for workers to use. If safety equipment was not provided or failed, property owners and general contractors can be held absolutely liable for the worker’s injuries regardless if the worker did something him or herself to cause the accident. In similar construction accidents in New York City, property owners and general contractors have been ordered to compensate workers for their pain and suffering, all unpaid medical expenses and lost time from work from the date of accident into the future.