An elevator mechanic tragically died when he fell four stories down an elevator shaft in a Hell’s Kitchen building. According to police, the incident occurred on Tuesday, August 25th at 577 Ninth Avenue just between 41st and West 42nd Streets. The area was shut down and locked up. Only police and emergency personnel were allowed to enter the building to investigate the death of this 30-year old mechanic.
Police stated that the mechanic was wearing his required hard hat, but he was not wearing the safety harness as he walked across wooden boards that were four stories high. According to witness statements, those boards gave way under the man and forced him to fall down the elevator shaft just after noon. The mechanic fell into several feet of water that was present at the basement level. Police found the man unconscious and unresponsive at the ground level and he was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center where he was pronounced dead.
The site is planned for a 25-story hotel and condo building. The contracting company responsible for all construction did not make a statement to news personnel, but it was discovered that their general contractor had received a hefty fine in March 2015 after another worker was seen climbing a 15 to 20-foot wall without a safety harness as well.
The Dangers of Ignoring Safety Protocols
Workplace safety has always been a concern in the United States. In the construction industry, workers are constantly injured, or worse, killed, because of inadequate safety. Despite numerous regulations and protocols in place, there are still companies that chose to forgo safety in order to cut costs or increase their completion speed. While the reasons the man was not wearing his safety harness have not yet been uncovered, research did show that there was a pattern of safety neglect at this particular site.
Falls are a Common Construction Hazard
On construction sites, there are numerous hazards that risk the lives of everyone present on that site – from explosives to harsh chemicals to the risk for serious falls. Falls are one of the leading causes of deaths among construction workers and hard hats are not enough to protect those workers. Instead, companies must require their workers to wear the designated safety harness in case of a fall.
When an employee is injured or killed on a construction site, determining liability can become a complicated matter. A person’s financial recovery is impacted by workers’ compensation laws for New York, but other third parties may also be liable for the worker’s injury or death – from third-party contractors to property owners or equipment manufacturers. In the case of the Hell’s Kitchen building, the worker was not wearing a safety harness; therefore, it is unlikely there was faulty equipment present.
As the investigation digs deeper, previous OSHA inspection records will be pulled and police will look to determine the cause of the board collapse as well as the reasons for the employee’s lack of safety protocols.
When Wrongful Death Occurs on a Job Site Contact an Attorney
When a loved one dies on a construction site due to inadequate safety or negligence from an employer, the job site owners should be held responsible for that negligence. Contact the attorneys at Schwartzapfel® Lawyers, P.C. today for a consultation. We represent injured workers and loved ones that have lost their family member due to construction site injuries. Call us at 1-877-737-4806 now or contact us online with your questions.