Construction sites present a number of risks for workers, some of which are easier to reduce than others. With New York's growth in construction over the recent years, construction accidents of all types keep appearing in the city's headlines.
On June 20, three workers on an Astoria site became trapped in the basement of a building under construction. According to reports, the construction project involved a renovation that added a third floor. The upper levels of the building suddenly collapsed, sending several thousand pounds of debris falling on top of the three men.
Heavy materials caused collapse
The Buildings Department launched an investigation into the causes of the collapse. One theory stated that a crane dropped a load on the top level, but later statements said the collapse happened long after the crane's departure and the heavy materials, including laminate beams, concrete blocks and cement bags, were already situated on the roof when the accident happened. Either way, it appears that the collapse was triggered by the roof's inability to support the heavy materials. New York regulations direct the placement of heavy equipment on lower levels unless engineers allow placement on upper levels; it is not clear whether engineers did so in this case.
While two of the men were rescued promptly, firefighters had to work for two hours to dig out the third man. Two of the men were critically injured, with the worker who was trapped longest remaining in serious condition from crushing injuries.
When negligence leads to accidents
Falling debris ranks among the top causes of construction accidents and can cause serious injuries and even death. While New York enacted various laws and regulations to increase construction safety, human error or pressure to take shortcuts can lead to violation. As in this case, identifying the responsible persons may not always be a straightforward endeavor.
Injured construction workers may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages for the harm they suffered. A knowledgeable NYC lawyer can tell you more about your options and potential damages in your case.