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Commentary on current events affecting New York's civil justice system, with a special emphasis on the rights of workers, consumers and accident victims.

No Injuries Reported in Scaffolding Collapse in New York
Posted by: William Gentile
September 26, 2012
Topic: Construction Accidents

Even as the New York Department of Buildings has been boasting of an improved safety record, and a drop in the number of construction accidents, there has been a series of incidents in the sector recently.  One such incident involved a scaffolding collapse in Queens. 

The incident occurred when a construction worker was working on scaffolding that was tethered to the 6th floor of a residential building.  The scaffolding seems to have malfunctioned and collapsed while the worker was on it.  Fortunately, the man was extricated from the scaffolding through a window.  No injuries were reported as a result of the incident.

Scaffolding collapses or accidents are usually the result of defective or malfunctioning scaffolding.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has guidelines in place for the construction, installation as well as maintenance of the scaffolding.  When there are violations of these guidelines, the result is the sort of safety incident that occurred here. 

Workers may be seriously injured in a scaffolding incident, especially if they're standing on the scaffolding at the time of the accident.  Other workers who may be on the ground in the vicinity, may also be injured by flying debris or falling tools from the scaffolding.

Other common causes of scaffolding accidents include the use of poor or old scaffolding materials or lack of inspection of the scaffolding.  Once the scaffolding has been installed, it must be inspected by a competent supervisor.  If these inspections are not conducted, any possible defect may go unnoticed. 

The New York construction accident attorneys at Godosky and Gentile are dedicated to the representation of construction workers who have been injured in accidents across New York.

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Eye Injuries Are a Major Hazard on Construction Sites
Posted by: William Gentile
August 12, 2012
Topic: Construction Accidents

Every year, more than 10,000 construction workers suffer eye injuries that are so bad that they require workers to be hospitalized and miss days off work.  Construction workers are particularly susceptible to eye injury hazards, and many of these are preventable.

Many of these injuries involve nail guns, injuries due to flying debris like splinters, tiny pieces of metal and chemical splashes.  Eye injury risks exist on almost every inch of a construction workplace, and all of these injuries can be prevented by wearing the right kind of eye protection gear.

It's important that construction companies provide workers with the right kind of eye protection gear.  The gear must be suited to the activity that is being performed, and protect the worker against the risks generated by that particular activity. 

For instance, if you are working in an environment that has a lot of dust, or exposes you to the effects of liquids or gases, it is recommended that you wear eye goggles.  However, if you are working with chemicals, and are at risk of suffering chemical eye injuries, then it is imperative that you wear a clear plastic face shield. 

Workers who are working in an environment full of flying pieces of metal, and wood splinters, workers engaged in sandblasting activities, or those who are working with chipping and grinding machines must also wear clear plastic shields that protect the eyes from injuries. 

Moreover, when a worker is working in an environment where there is a risk of chemical eye splashes, there must be an eye wash station close by.  If you are a welder working on a construction site, then the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that a flame-proof screen be set up around the worker in order to protect other workers from injuries.

The New York construction accident attorneys at Godosky and Gentile are dedicated to the representation of construction workers who have suffered eye injuries across the state of New York.

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Construction Crane Accident Causes Damage on WTC Site
Posted by: William Gentile
August 08, 2012
Topic: Construction Accidents

A construction crane accident involving a crane that slipped on the south side of the WTC tower under construction caused some property damage, but no injuries recently.  The accident occurred when a beam was being lifted on the south side of the World Trade Center. 

The incident resulted in a number of shattered windows on the WTC building, and rained pieces of glass approximately 45 stories below.  No investigations will be conducted because no injuries were caused in the accident. However, as a precaution, the three blocks around the WTC site were shut down.  More than 60 firefighters responded to the scene of the accident, and managed to clear debris and glass from the ground.

According to the New York Fire Department, the accident was caused because the weight of the crane shifted while the beam was being lifted. 

This was the second accident at the WTC site in just a few days.  Just a few days earlier, a construction worker suffered injuries when he was impaled by a steel rod at the site.  The worker had lost his footing, and fell on a steel rod.  However, his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

The New York Department of Buildings has been particularly interested in crane safety in the city of New York, since a series of tower crane accidents 4 years ago caused several fatalities and focused nationwide attention on the state of crane safety in New York.

The New York crane accident lawyers at Godosky and Gentile represent crane operators, and other workers who have been injured in construction accidents in New York City.

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New York Worker Killed in Trench Collapse Accident
Posted by: William Gentile
July 27, 2012
Topic: Construction Accidents

A worker was killed in a trench collapse accident that occurred at a New York City construction site recently.  According to reports, the worker suffered serious injuries when he was buried by a collapsing wall in the trench.  He was rushed to the hospital, but was declared dead.

The New York Department of Buildings, which has recently been congratulating itself on the improved safety record in the construction industry, has ordered a stop-work notice for the site.  According to a representative for the Department of Buildings, the contractor in this particular incident will be cited for a number of violations.  Apparently, the contractor was working without a permit.  He also failed to shore up the trench, and failed to ensure that the trench was safe for entry, before allowing the worker inside.

Trench collapse accidents are some of the most dangerous accidents that can occur on any construction site.  These accidents are very often fatal, because walls can collapse at dizzying speed, burying a worker under tons of soil before any other workers can get to the worker. 

Even when rescue efforts are launched, emergency personnel may take a long time to get to the buried worker, and extricate him.  Rescue work must be conducted very cautiously, because there is always the danger of another collapse during the rescue.  That is why these accidents often end with fatalities.  Death is usually due to asphyxiation.

Shoring of trench walls is one of the most effective ways to guard against trench collapse incidents.  Employers must ensure that the trench is completely safe before a worker is allowed into the trench.

The New York construction accident attorneys at Godosky and Gentile are dedicated to the representation of construction workers who have been injured in trench collapses and other accidents across New York.

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New York Sees a Drop in Motorcycle Fatalities
Posted by: William Gentile
June 27, 2012
Topic: Automobile Accidents

Even as several other states reported increases in their motorcycle accident fatality numbers for 2011, the state of New York actually experienced a drop in the number of people killed in these accidents last year.  Data from the Governor?s Highway Safety Association found a drop in the motorcycle accident fatality numbers in New York, both during the first 6 months as well as the first 9 months of last year.

The toll was approximately 67 fatalities during the first 6 months of last year, compared to 88 during the same period the earlier year.  During the first 9 months of the year, there were 137 fatalities, compared to 163 fatalities the previous year.

New York was among the lucky 23 states that reported a decline in motorcycle accident deaths.  All other states reported an increase in their fatality numbers.  Overall, the national motorcycle accident fatality toll was also expected to be the same as in the previous year.  Final numbers for 2011 will only begin coming in later this year, but the preliminary statistics released by the Governors Highway Safety Association are believed to be a clear indicator of where those numbers will stand at the end of the year.

States like New York that managed to have their motorcycle accident fatality numbers drop this year have been able to increase law-enforcement activities aimed at keeping motorcyclists safe.  All kinds of enforcement activities that prevent aggressive driving, speeding and drunk driving motorists automatically help keep motorcyclists safe.  Motorcyclists are at the highest risk of accidents when they're sharing the roads with reckless, negligent, speeding or intoxicated drivers.

The New York personal injury lawyers at Godosky and Gentile represent victims of motorcycle accidents across New York City.

 

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Defects Found in Crane Involved in Manhattan Accident
Posted by: William Gentile
May 08, 2012
Topic: Construction Accidents

Investigations have found several defects in a crane that was involved in a deadly construction accident at a Manhattan site earlier this month.  The accident occurred when the upper section of the plane broke off, and fell.  The accident killed a worker from New Jersey. 

The 170-foot crane collapsed at the site, also injuring several workers.  Investigations have found that there were several defects in the hoisting system of the crane.  An investigation conducted by the New York City Department of Buildings found that the there had been several problems reported with the maintenance and operation of the crane before the accident. 

According to reports, the crane had only recently been inspected by the Department of Buildings on January 10.  However, the crane was in operation at the time, and therefore, the inspection could not be completed.  Another follow-up inspection had been scheduled for later.  However, before this inspection could be conducted, sections of the crane collapsed.  Work on the Manhattan construction site has been suspended. 

Crane safety in New York has been a hot button safety issue.  In fact, this was the 3rd fatal crane accident over the last 4 years.  To New York construction accident lawyers, this accident was reminiscent of a series of accidents that occurred in 2008, killing 9 people.  Since then, safety procedures have been overhauled, but as this accident shows, more action needs to be taken to keep workers safe.

The New York construction accident lawyers at Godosky and Gentile are dedicated to the representation of construction workers injured in crane accidents, scaffolding accidents, falls, electrical accidents, and other types of accidents on construction sites across New York State.

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New York SUV Accident Blamed on Faulty Highway Design
Posted by: William Gentile
May 03, 2012
Topic: Automobile Accidents

A fatal accident on the Bronx River Parkway last week that caused an SUV to fly off the highway, and fall 6 stories down to the grounds of the Bronx Zoo, is being blamed on the shoddy design of the highway.  There's nothing to suggest than any other accident factors caused this accident.

The SUV, which was traveling south on the Bronx River Parkway seems to have clipped   a highway divider, which damaged the tire, causing the SUV to jump the curb and fly off the guardrail.  The vehicle fell 6 stories down, killing 7 people in the car, including 3 children.

Initially, some reports held that the car was traveling at a high rate of speed, because of the manner in which the vehicle went out of control, and off the highway.  However, that has not been confirmed.  Toxicology tests have been conducted on the driver, who also died in the accident.  The results of the tests are still pending. 

There is nothing to suggest that any other accident factors were at work here.  For instance, there is nothing to indicate that the driver was driving the vehicle was using a cell phone or texting while driving at the time of the accident.

However, New York car accident lawyers are focusing on the shoddy design of the highway, and the lack of safety features at the site where the accident occurred.   The New York City affiliate of the American Automobile Association says that this critical stretch of highway lacks important safety features.  The turns are too sharp and tight, and there is no break lane.  Moreover, the guardrails were inadequate and failed to prevent the car from flying off the highway.

In New York, state, city or county agencies are required to build safe roadways, and maintain these properly.  If failure to do this results in an accident, then the government can be named in a car accident lawsuit.

 

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Recession May Have Contributed to Fewer Construction Worker Injuries
Posted by: William Gentile
April 02, 2012
Topic: Construction Accidents

According to new research, the recession may have contributed to a decline in the number of orthopedic injuries in the construction workforce. 

The findings of the study were presented at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons annual conference in San Francisco recently.  The study focused on worker injuries in Tampa, Florida, and correlated the numbers to the employment rate during the same period of time.  The researchers found that there was definitely a decline in the number of worker injuries corresponding with a decline in employment rates.

Tampa was one of the cities that benefited heavily from the construction boom, and not surprisingly, when the recession hit, this was one of the regions that saw a quick drop in the employment rate. 

Researchers also found that cases of orthopedic trauma dropped from 2,065 in 2007 to 1,743 in 2009.  That was a decline of 16%.  During the same time, the unemployment rate in Tampa increased from 4% to 10.7%. 

The decline in construction worker employment was especially sharp during this time.  Construction worker jobs dropped by a staggering 36% between 2006 and 2009.  The number of new construction projects also dropped with an 80% decline in the number of county building permits that were issued during this period of time.

According to the researchers, there can be many unexpected effects on worker health and safety in a poor economic climate.  For instance, workers may take fewer risks, including work-related risks during a recession.  They also tend to take much better care of themselves, during a recession.  New York construction accident attorneys find those facts very intriguing.

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Drop in New York City Construction Accidents
Posted by: William Gentile
April 02, 2012
Topic: Construction Accidents

The year 2011 had both good and bad news for New York construction accident lawyers.  The good news was that there was an 18% drop in construction accidents across New York City between 2010 and 2011.  The bad news was that this decline did not exactly translate into a sharp drop in fatalities.  There were 5 deaths in construction accidents during the same period of time.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the decline in construction accidents recently during a visit to a construction site.  According to the mayor, there were 152 construction accidents in 2011.  The previous year, there had been 155 accidents.  The decline was seen even though the City of New York issued 7.7% more construction permits in 2011.

However, there was actually an increase in the number of construction -related fatalities in 2011.  Last year, 5 people died in construction-related accidents in the city, compared to 4 the previous year.  That is definitely alarming, even though the mayor hastens to add that 5 fatalities is a 78% decrease from 2008.

New York construction accident lawyers would attribute the decline in construction accidents in 2011 to a number of reforms that have been implemented recently.  In 2009, the city reviewed its construction code, and implemented a number of reforms, including new rules that require the inspection of stalled construction projects.  The City also launched a fall accident prevention campaign aimed at preventing falls in the construction sector.  The city has also implemented at least 25 other safety laws since 2009. 

The fact that fatalities have increased however, is very concerning.  Obviously, more efforts need to be made to prevent really serious accidents like trench collapses that almost always end in death.

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New York Construction Company Cited for Scaffolding Violations
Posted by: William Gentile
April 02, 2012
Topic: Construction Accidents

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a Brooklyn, New York-based construction company for scaffolding violations contributing to the near-fatal fall of a worker last year.  The worker fortunately survived the 80-foot fall, but the agency found a number of violations including scaffolding maintenance and fall protection violations at the site.

The accident occurred on September 20, 2011, when the worker fell approximately 80 feet from the top of a110- foot high scaffolding.  Officers from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration?s Manhattan area office conducted an inspection of the site. 

They found a number of violations, including a failure to fully plan the scaffolding.  The scaffolding also lacked guardrails.  They also found that an aluminum access platform had not been secured against displacement, and that one construction worker had not been tied off to a safe anchorage point.  Construction workers accessed work areas by scooting up and down the scaffolding frames.

The agency has cited masonry contractor Navillus Contracting Tile Inc. for these scaffolding and fall safety violations.  The agency has proposed close to $40,000 in fines.  According to the agency, the fact that the worker survived such a massive fall was more a matter of luck than any kind of prevention strategies employed by the company. 

Employers can prevent fall and scaffolding -related accidents by implementing effective fall prevention programs to eliminate hazards.

The New York construction accident lawyers at Godosky and Gentile represent construction workers injured in accidents across New York City.

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