There have been three construction-related deaths in New York City already this month, and city council member Robert Cornegy Jr. has taken the opportunity to remind building officials how important it is that they implement the construction safety training laws passed in 2017, Crain’s New York Business reported.
One worker fell to his death while performing brickwork in Brooklyn, and another died after he was hit in the head by a stone as he performed exterior work on a Manhattan residential building. The third worker was crushed as he was assembling a crane at a separate jobsite.
Cornegy said the fatal accidents were “a chilling reminder of the danger the men and women who build our city are subjected to day in and day out” and that the safety training prescribed by the city would be a “vitally important way to prevent future fatalities like these.”
While this latest group of fatalities is tragic, the number of deadly construction accidents in New York City actually decreased between 2013 and 2017, according to the New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health. Despite there being an uptick in statewide construction fatalities during that time, city construction-related deaths decreased by 23% during the same period, with only 20 reported incidents.
New York City laws require that construction workers receive 30 hours of safety training and supervisors take 62 hours of training by June 1, 2019. Workers must also complete an additional 10 hours of safety training by Sept. 1, 2020.
If building permit holders allow those without the proper training to work on a New York City jobsite, they, along with employers and owners, will be subject to a penalty of $5,000 per untrained worker. The permit holder can also be charged $2,500 for failing to maintain proper training records for the project’s employees.
The crane accident that spurred Cornegy’s comments occurred in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 13, the New York Daily News reported. Construction worker Gregory Echevarria was helping with the assembly of a crane when a counterweight weighing more than 7 tons fell on him. One other worker was injured and taken to the hospital.
Earlier in the week, Nelson Salinas, an employee of Vlad Restoration, was injured when a coping stone fell onto a piece of equipment and hit him in the head while he was working on the exterior of a 14-story Manhattan residential building. Salinas was working on a suspended scaffold 7 stories in the air.