Now You Can Use Your Smartphone To Scan Quick Response Codes On Construction Permits To Get Instant Access To Property And Project Data

Quick Response (QR) codes provide smartphone users who have downloaded a free application with immediate access to data by scanning the displayed code with their device. Similar to how a barcode provides information through a scanner, scanning the QR code of any construction permit willallow the user to learn details about the ongoing project including the approved scope of work, identities of the property owner and job applicant, other approved projects associated with the permit, the complaints and violations related to the location and user will have the ability to click a link that will initiate a phone call to … Read the rest

Weight of Falling Object, Not Just Height Differential, Can Implicate Absolute Liability Under Labor Law

The 39-foot, 1,300-pound rail fell only 12-16 inches onto plaintiff’s right leg. It occurred when the plaintiff and his coworkers were using rail hooks to move the rail on top of another rail at the Steinway subway station in Queens. Upon the callman’s signal, the plaintiff’s coworkers began lifting the rail off the ground, but the plaintiff’s hooks were not in place and he was not ready to begin lifting. This allegedly caused the team to lose control of the rail and resulted in the rail falling. Under this scenario, there is an issue of fact whether Labor Law 240(1) … Read the rest

Window Washers Estate Wins Summary Judgment on Labor Law Violation in Scaffold Collapse

The case involving a 47-story fall of a scaffold where one of two brothers on it died and the other lived (albeit with catastrophic injuries) is wending its way through the court. This past week the estate of the deceased window washer was granted summary judgment pursuant to Labor Law 240(1) (the scaffold law) in Cumbicos v. Tractel Inc., 103247/08, NYLJ 1202473921555, at *1 (Sup., NY, Decided October 25, 2010). The decision highlights the utter carelessness of the company hired to maintain the scaffold for attempting to repair the ends of brand new cables that were delivered in defective condition … Read the rest

NYC Buildings Department No-Penalty Retaining Wall Inspection Program In Progress Until May 31

Retaining walls are designed to hold back soil that would move to a more natural slope or incline if the wall was not in place. Every homeowner is required by law to maintain their walls and their properties in a safe condition at all times. Under the No-Penalty Retaining Wall Inspection Program, homeowners may call 311 to request an inspection of their retaining wall without the penalty of violations.

Every once in a while you hear a story in the news about a retaining wall that collapsed on a worker engaged in a construction project on an adjoining property where … Read the rest

Sixth-Annual Construction Safety Week Starts This Monday

The New York City Buildings Departments Construction Safety Week has, since 2005, been a week-long series of events aimed at raising awareness about safe construction practices. Construction-related fatalities dropped 84% in 2009 when compared to 2008, and these events are a critical way to continue that trend. This year Construction Safety Week will run from April 26 to April 30, 2010.

Events during the week will include construction site visits to discuss safety issues with workers, information seminars to review construction trends and specific operations and community meetings in all five boroughs. This year’s seminars are Maintaining Safety at Stalled … Read the rest

Do You Think a Plea Bargain Was Appropriate for Taking Bribes to Fake Crane Inspections?

Last week New York City’s former chief crane inspector, James Delayo, admitted that he took “more than $10,000” in bribes to fake inspections and overlook unqualified crane operators. Prosecutors have said Delayo’s individual payoffs ranged from $200 to $3,000. Delayos crimes are said to be unrelated to the two fatal crane collapses that occurred in 2008. Delayo’s plea deal shaved his prison time from seven years to just two to six years. A good deal for him, but what message does it send?

The money he took helped only him, but the phony inspections put the public in mortal danger. … Read the rest

Building Owner Charged with Manslaughter in Death of Construction Worker Loses Bid to Suppress Incriminating Statements

On March 12, 2008, the basement foundation wall of a two-story wood-frame residential building located at 795 Glenmore Avenue in Brooklyn collapsed into the construction site on the adjoining parcel at 793 and 791 Glenmore Avenue, causing the death of a construction worker who was working in the excavation site at the time of the collapse. The laborers were digging out the soil for the foundations and underpinnings when the wall collapsed. The owner of both the building and the construction site, William Lattarulo, stands charged with manslaughter in the second degree and reckless endangerment in the second degree.

The … Read the rest

Indictment Accuses Mob of Infiltrating NYC Building Department, Taking Bribes To Grant Building Permits, Expedite Inspections And Overlook Building Violations

The Manhattan District Attorney on October 1, 2009, announced the indictment and arrest of 29 people and four corporations for enterprise corruption, bribery, bribe receiving, extortion, narcotics, and firearms trafficking, and illegal gambling. Among the individual defendants are members and associates of the Cosa Nostra Lucchese Organized Crime Family (Lucchese Crime Family), including three inspectors formerly employed by the New York City Department of Buildings and two members of the Family ruling panel; three other former building inspectors; and individuals and companies in the construction and real estate industry.

The District Attorney accused the mob of seeking to place associates … Read the rest

First Department Debates How Much Effort Court of Appeals Requires a Worker To Make To Search For Safety Devices At The Construction Work Site

In Cherry v. Time Warner, Inc., — N.Y.S.2d —-, 2009 WL 2497974 (1 Dept. August 18, 2009), the plaintiff was securing sheet rock to the ceiling on the third floor when he fell off a baker’s scaffold onto the concrete floor eight feet below. The scaffold measuring approximately two feet wide by six to eight feet long had guardrails on only two of its four sides.

The Appellate Division, First Department was called upon to decide whether safety guardrails were in place on the scaffold from which the plaintiff fell and if they were not in place, whether they … Read the rest

New Yorks Statutes Aimed at Protecting Construction Workers Held to Apply to Accident on Indian Reservation

In Alexander v. Hart, — N.Y.S.2d —-, 2009 WL 1955556, 2009 N.Y. Slip Op. 05716 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept., 2009) the plaintiff, a service technician, fell while working on a rooftop heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit at defendants’ fitness center on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation in Franklin County. The defendants moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s Labor Law 240(1) and 241(6) claims on the ground that these construction worker safety statutes do not apply on the grounds that
(1) the statutes do not apply to accidents that occur on an Indian reservation,
(2) since the tribe is the title owner … Read the rest