General Contractor Subject to Pay Fine in Avoidable Death of Worker

In April 2015, 22-year-old Carlos Moncayo was killed when a 14-foot deep, unshored trench collapsed. Mr. Moncayo was an undocumented laborer from Ecuador who worked for Sky Materials, which is an excavation subcontractor based in Calverton, Long Island, New York. Alfonso Prestia, the site supervisor plead guilty to criminally negligent homicide and was sentenced to serve community service. The foreman of Sky Materials was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and was sentenced to a year in jail. The company Sky Materials, has yet to be tried.

The general contractor in this incident was Harco Construction LLC. Harco was convicted of … Read the rest

Construction Groups File a Lawsuit Over New Crane Regulations

On February 5, 2016 a 500-foot crawler crane collapsed during an approaching winter storm. The crane damaged buildings in Tribeca and killed 30-year old David Wichs. Following the incident, the Department of Buildings temporarily banned the use of crawler crane’s around the five boroughs.

Additionally, the Department of Buildings drafted new regulations to make crane operations safer. However, the construction industry groups were not given a seat at the table during the drafting process.

According to Crain’s New York Business, the new rules were released in March and June. The construction trade groups believe that the new regulations add … Read the rest

Investigation into Workers Death Leads to Indictment of Subcontractor

The April 6, 2015 death of a construction worker at a Ninth Avenue New York City construction site has initiated an investigation into the owner of Sky Materials Corporation, an excavating subcontracting company.  After an extensive investigation, owner Michael Cholowsky was indicted for concealing payroll information and submitting false documents regarding the number of employees he hired.  The charges are first degree workers’ compensation fraud, and filing false statements, along with other criminal charges stemming from the construction accident.

During the April 2013 to April 2014 time period, Mr. Cholowsky allegedly falsely reported to the New York State Insurance Fund … Read the rest

City Raises Fines for Safety Violations at Construction Sites

In the wake of a recent accident in which a crane fell, killing a passerby, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler announced new rules to ensure the safety of those working at or walking by a construction site.  This includes an increase in monetary fines.  Mayor de Blasio said these measures are necessary because “no building is worth a person’s life.”

With numerous safety provisions already in place, the spotlight is now on stricter enforcement.  As part of the new plan, there will be a greater number of inspections, especially … Read the rest

Dangers Construction Workers Face When Working on Tall Buildings

According to Politico New York, construction worker injuries in New York City have increased 34 percent from the 2014 fiscal year (July 2013-June 2014) to the last fiscal year which ended on June 30, 2015.  This increased the number of injuries to 283, and the amount of fatalities to 11.  In 2014, the total value of construction projects was $26.2 billion.  By June of 2015, the estimated value has already reached $22.2 billion.  With the number of construction projectsin New York City increasing, it is no surprise that resulting construction worker injuries are on the rise as well.

Recently, … Read the rest

Scaffolds Raising the New York City Skyline are Raising Concern

New York City sidewalk sheds (the open scaffolds you walk under) are well on their way to becoming as synonymous with the Big Apple as hot-dog carts and yellow-taxi cabs. With the influx of construction, NYC sidewalk sheds and scaffolding have devoured thousands of streets and have become more than just an eyesore for residents; they’re safety hazards.

According to the Department of Building, there are currently 9,000 sheds on the city’s streets, up from 3,500 in 2003. Although many attribute the rise in sheds and scaffolding to the boom in construction, the underlying reason lies within city legislation. Thirty-six … Read the rest

An Alarming Report on Construction Worker Fatalities in New York

On May 11, 2015, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health unveiled alarming findings from their latest study, “Price of Live: 2015 Report on Construction Fatalities in NYC”.  The study found that construction accounts for 20% of on the job fatalities in New York State although it accounts for less than 4% of  employment, it represents 20% of on the job fatalities in New York State.

Other key findings involve fatalities resulting from falls at construction sites. Falls from deadly heights make up half of the construction fatalities in New York State and 71% of all injuries in … Read the rest

U.S. Labor Statistics Show 12 Workers A Day Died On The Job In 2012; New York Region Leads Country in Work Fatalities

Preliminary results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) released this past Thursday show a reduction in the number of workplace fatalities in 2012 compared with 2011.  The 2012 total represents the second lowest preliminary total since CFOI was first conducted in 1992.  The statistics are analyzed by different categories: worker characteristics, type of incident, industry, occupation, state and metropolitan statistical area ( MSA).  The MSAs with the most fatal occupational injuries in 2012 were New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island (NY-NJ-PA) with 178.

The CFOI statistics show that workplace fatalities in construction and extraction … Read the rest

Cancer-Causing Chromium a Hot Topic with OSHA

Go onto the U.S. Department of Labor’s website and you will find much to read about what OSHA is attempting to do to reduce the exposure of workers to chromium, and more particularly hexavalent chromium, a dangerous and potentially life-threatening product. Industrial processes that involve chromium can result in worker exposure to toxic hexavalent chromium. It is estimated that 558,000 workers are potentially exposed to hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] in the United States. Job tasks that may expose workers to Cr(VI) include spray painting, sanding, grinding and abrasive blasting.

A major source of worker exposure to hexavalent chromium occurs during “hot … Read the rest

Construction Industry Foiled in Its Attempt to Avoid Complying with New York City’s Regulations Governing Cranes, Derricks and Hoisting Equipment

In Steel Institute of New York v. City of New York, the Steel Institute of New York, advancing the interests of the construction industry, sued the City of New York challenging local statutes and regulations that govern the use of cranes, derricks, and other hoisting equipment in construction and demolition. The Steel Institute argued that they are preempted by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (the “Act”) and federal standards promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”). The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (McMahon, J.) dismissed the suit on summary judgment, … Read the rest