The family of an immigrant worker has brought a wrongful death lawsuit against his employer after the employee died in a trench collapse. The employee had apparently not been supplied with a helmet, escape ladder, or shoring to the inside of the trench that may have prevented the collapse from ever taking place.
A New York City newspaper's investigation into work site accidents discovered that job site accidents increased more than 30 percent from fiscal year 2011 to 2012 while the number of injuries rose 46 percent over the same period. These statistics are alarming because enforcement of job site safety has been drastically cut back. So are these cut backs in enforcement the reason for the increase in construction accidents and injuries? From 2009 to 2012, the city's buildings department cut the number of worksite inspections by 40 percent.
Rockland County, just northwest of Manhattan, is bordered by the Tappan Zee and boasts slightly more than 315,000 in population according to the last census. It was here that a man from Bogotá earned his nursing degree recently and dreamed of working in that profession. It is also here that the man from Bogotá was killed in an industrial accident.
A warehouse being demolished to make room for a Columbia University expansion project recently collapsed, burying three construction workers in the rubble. Emergency crews were able to dig through the concrete, steel beams and other debris from the fallen 1915 building and eventually free each of them.
While fatal construction accidents in New York City are fairly common, rarely do they result in criminal charges against the responsible parties. However, the horrific consequences of a construction error at the Deutsche Bank building prompted prosecutors to seek criminal convictions against three construction supervisors.
As we approach the 100-year anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, it is a great time to give pause and remember the countless deaths that occurred in New York's days of few workplace regulations. Men, women and even children - many of them immigrants - endured horrific sweatshop conditions where they risked life and limb each day to bring home meager earnings.
This is the time of year when families should be spending quality time together; unfortunately, several families have lost a beloved family member in December construction accidents.
Master rigger William Rapetti was cleared of seven counts of manslaughter in a non-jury trial on July 22, 2010. While criminal charges have been cleared, Rapetti still faces numerous civil lawsuits.