Tough Start to 2009 for Garbage Truck Fatalities

The first three months of 2009 saw 12 solid waste collection workers killed while on their routes, and 9 died during a 15-day period in March. This followed a substantial decrease in solid waste collection fatalities in 2007, during which there were 18 worker fatalities. That reflected a more than 50 percent decrease from the prior year.

For years solid waste collection was among the five most dangerous occupations in the United States as measured by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some of the more dangerous practices involving garbage trucks include double-sided pick up and rushing since workers sometimes … Read the rest

Enough is Enough: Federal Suit Demands New York City Housing Authority Fix Its Elevators

A lawsuit was filed in the United States Court for the Eastern District of New York on April 21, 2009 to force the New York City Housing Authority to repair and maintain its more than 3,300 elevators. The lawsuit cites numerous occasions when NYCHA buildings are completely without elevator service. The lawsuit also describes instances when these buildings have only one working elevator, leaving residents waiting in long lines to use the functioning car. Other frequent malfunctions cited include elevator doors without sensors, elevators which fail to stop at particular floors, or which stop above or below floor level, making … Read the rest

Tragic Pedestrian Accident: Mechanical Difficulty or Drunk, Leering Driver?

There are all too many news stories of motor vehicles mounting curbs and striking pedestrians with tragic results. Two incidents like this occurred in Manhattan just this past Friday afternoon. But one of these incidents has an unusual element: according to witnesses, rather than an apparently random occurrence,the driver of the vehicle and his passenger were following the pedestrians just before mounting the sidewalk. At 5P.M., a 28-year-old pregnant woman, Ysemny Ramos, was killed while she was walking west along East 37th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues.

According to the police, the driver, Keston Brown, was apparently intoxicated and … Read the rest

Fatal Fire Brings to Light Deficiencies in Fire Hydrant Inspection Requirements

On February 2, 2009, Amy Yeung perished in an apartment fire in Selden, New York. Firefighters reported that a lack of water pressure in the fire hydrant in her private community, Village in the Woods, made it more difficult to put out the blaze, and forced them to call for two water tankers from neighboring fire departments. This tragedy exposed a deficiency in the inspections of fire hydrants in private communities.

Neither Suffolk County nor the Town of Brookhaven regularly inspects private water systems to ensure that they have sufficient water pressure to fight fires. State fire code mandates annual … Read the rest

Nassau County Police Release Recommendations to Avoid Repeating Wal-Mart Black Friday Stampede

On the Friday following Thanksgiving last year a pre-dawn mob of approximately 2,000 shoppers broke down the doors to a Wal-Mart in Valley Stream, New York, and rushed past and trampled to death Jdimytai Damour, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound Wal-Mart worker who was stationed near the entrance to assist with crowd control. At least four other people were hurt. This past Wednesday, Nassau County police released recommendations for better crowd control in such circumstances, two weeks after meeting with 75 Long Island retailers about how to stage major sales events safely.

Among the report’s recommendations:
* Begin planning months before … Read the rest

How Will “Doorbuster Bill” Proposed In Wake of Trampling Death of Wal-Mart Worker Effect Stores’ Civil Liability in the Future?

This past Black Friday bore witness to the inherent dangers in failing to properly control a crowd that could and did turn into a stampeding mob oblivious to the fact that a man was being asphyxiated beneath them. Two days after stampeding shoppers trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death at a Valley Stream, New York store, Queens-based New York City Councilman James Gennaro announced his plans to craft a “Doorbuster Bill” that would require retailers to enact greater security measures during major sales. Nassau County is apparently considering enacting a similar law.

On Black Friday, the now-traditional day after Thanksgiving … Read the rest

2008 City Analysis of Child Deaths in Motor Vehicle Accidents and in Fires

The 2008 report of the New York City Child Fatality Review Team (CFRT) looks retrospectively at injury deaths for the years 2001 through 2006 for New York City children aged 1 to 12 years. The single largest contributor to child injury deaths overall and to unintentional deaths are motor vehicle accidents, especially those involving child pedestrians. Fire and burn-related deaths were the second leading contributor to unintentional injury deaths and the leading contributor to fatal child injuries in the home.

Compared to national figures, New York City children are half of the national child injury death rate. Those more … Read the rest

The Crane Brethren

Yesterday our office received a call from a client involved in the March 15, 2008, collapse of a crane at a construction project on East 51st Street in Manhattan. The news that another crane collapsed when the top of the crane on an East 91st Street construction site had snapped off, crashed into a building across the street and killed two construction workers had hit our client personally; he had received a telephone call from a crane operator that he knew from his work that identified the crane operator who died in the latest collapse as a friend of our … Read the rest

Seemingly Never-Ending String of High School Lunch-Time Car Accidents Fuels Debate Over Open Campuses

A fatal car accident involving students driving off of school grounds during lunch period has again focused attention on whether open campus is a concept that should be ended.

Following a crash on April 10, 2008 in which two West Hempstead High School students were killed and another seriously injured, New York State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) renewed his call to enact his bill that would ban all school districts in the state from permitting students to leave campus in vehicles during school hours. Assemblyman Gianaris introduced Assembly Bill A.9619 this past January.

As a result of the accident, … Read the rest

Mystery Surrounds How One Window Washer But Not Other Survived 47 Floor Plunge From Scaffolding Previously Cited for 10 Violations

The scaffolding that broke last Friday (12/7/07), causing a pair of brother window washers to plunge 47 stories (550 feet) on Manhattan’s upper East Side, had been cited for 10 violations in June, including four that were repeat violations, state records show. Inspection records from the New York State Labor Department show that the scaffolding had been inspected twice in the past two years – and 10 violations were issued, but they were not severe enough to warrant a stop-work order.

Why one brother died and the other survived is a mystery. Speculation is that while they tried to ride … Read the rest