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The Perecman Firm

New York, NY Personal Injury Blog

Worker Falls 30 Feet Off Ladder in Brooklyn

Falling off a ladder is a serious risk for workers.

Ladder accidents are extremely common even though they are completely preventable. However, a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report on ladder safety showed that more than 90,000 people receive emergency room treatment from ladder-related injuries every year. A 2014 survey from the Center for Disease Control’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reported that ladders are involved in 20 percent of fall injuries among workers. Among construction workers, an estimated 81% of fall injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments involved a ladder

In the news, a worker died after slipping off a ladder and falling about 30 feet in Brooklyn. He had been working on the exterior of a two-story building on 20th St. in Windsor Terrace, reported the New York Daily News (3.27.15).

Shulem Benyosef, 44, landed on his head after falling on his head, said the tabloid, citing officials and the blog JP Updates. He was transported to Lutheran Medical Center where he died.

Falls from portable ladders (step, straight, combination and extension) are on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) list of the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries. Ladder accidents happen for a number of reasons, but four causes account for the majority of them. These accidents can mostly be prevented if the users of ladders follow safe work practices for ensuring safety.

Falls are mostly caused by:

Selecting the Wrong Type of Ladder

Choosing the right ladder can make a tremendous difference when it comes to safety. One thing to consider when selecting an appropriate ladder is the ladder’s maximum safe weight capacity. Each ladder is designed to support a maximum weight limit and the weights of the climber, tools, supplies, and other objects placed upon the ladder must not exceed that limit. If the maximum safe load capacity is exceeded, the ladder could break.

The height of the ladder

Two Bodies Recovered from NYC Explosion Site, Fault to Be Determined

Many tenants live above restaurants in New York.

Explosions can be devastating. These incidents can result in severe injuries and sometimes loss of life, as in the case of the recent explosion in Manhattan’s East Village. Often times, explosions are caused by some sort of negligence. In each case, the accident should be immediately investigated to determine the cause and origin of the explosion. Understanding the cause of this type of accident is an extremely necessary first step in determining liability, as in who should be held responsible to compensate the injured victims and-or their loved ones.

In New York’s East Village three buildings collapsed and four others were damaged by an explosion and the gas-fueled fire that followed. Two people died in the blast and more than twenty others were injured.

Sadly, this explosion was likely preventable. Leaking natural gas was thought to be the source of the explosion and fire, reported The New York Times (3.28.15).

More than seven months before the explosion and fire, Consolidated Edison utility workers discovered that the gas line to Sushi Park, a restaurant in the building at 121 Second Ave, had been illegally tapped, creating a dangerous situation.

On Aug. 6, a meter reader at the restaurant detected the smell of gas and reported it. A gas crew sent to the site found several leaks in a gas line that had been tapped. Con Edison shut down gas service to the building for about 10 days while repairs were made by the owner of the building. The utility restored the gas service after determining it was safe to do so, reported The New York Times.

About an hour before the explosion, inspectors from Con Ed visited the building that later exploded. They had locked the gas line to ensure it wouldn’t be used after determining that work to upgrade gas service didn’t pass inspection, reported U.S. News and World Report (3.29.15).


Ironworker Dies After Fall at Larry Gagosian’s New York City Mansion

Rushed work is often the cause of construction accidents. This is why it was alarming when the New York Post (3.25.15) reported that workers said “they have been under huge pressure to complete” art mogul Larry Gagosian’s reported $70 million Upper East Side mansion.

Rushing may help explain the cause of the ironworker’s tragic death at the mansion. He fell from a ladder and suffered multiple serious injuries.

The employee was installing a plate under a second-floor balcony at the time of the accident. According to the New York Post, the worker was rushed to the hospital with multiple broken bones and severe internal bleeding.  The worker also suffered a heart attack.

The Post reported “there [was] no confirmation that the urgency played a role in the fatal accident,” however, the tabloid then cited an on-site source who said that Gagosian’s estate manager, Dana Stanley, “was threatening liquidated damages if they didn’t finish up by the end of this month.”

A thorough investigation will reveal the root cause of the incident. Rushing through construction work can have serious consequences and it will likely be considered as part of the investigation. Rushed work is a true threat to safety because when the focus of a construction project is speed, safety considerations often become secondary. This is despite employment policies stating that safety is a “priority.” Workers who rush may take shortcuts that can result in accidents. Rushing also deprives workers of the time they need to work carefully and deliberately and to think about potential hazards and getting the job done right.

Construction work is one of the deadliest occupations in America. According to the Occupational Heath and Safety Administration (OSHA), 4405 construction workers lost their lives in workplace accidents in 2013. Falls from heights are the top cause of fatalities in construction, including one of the most common causes of death for ironworkers. Tragically, when it comes to falls, more

Man Dies in Workplace Accident After Forklift Fall

Safe work practices prevent work related injuries.

The dangers associated with use of forklifts are often underestimated because the vehicles are quiet, in frequent use and become a regular part of the workplace. However, employers and employees must always remember that accidents involving forklifts can be serious and often fatal.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reported that each year in the United States nearly 100 workers are killed and another 20,000 are seriously injured in forklift-related incidents.

Recently, a worker died at a greenhouse in Center Moriches, Long Island after falling off a forklift and hitting his head.

CBS News (3.24.15) reported that Santos Ortiz, 37, was working a forklift at Kurt Weiss Greenhouses when he lost control of the vehicle. He struck his head on a metal post, and fell to the ground. He was then taken to a hospital where he died.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was notified about the death, reported CBS News. The accident will most certainly be investigated. Falls from forklifts account for 9 percent of the fatal injuries associated with forklifts. Forklift overturns account for 22 percent of the fatal injuries in forklift-related accidents. An investigation can help to uncover the cause of accident and to prevent a similar accident in the future

Why Ortiz fell from the forklift is unreported. However, forklift operators should wear seatbelts. According to OSHA, its enforcement policy on the use of seat belts on forklifts and other powered industrial trucks is that “employers are obligated to require operators of powered industrial trucks which are equipped with operator restraint devices or seat belts to use the devices.” OSHA would enforce the use of such devices under Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act. While seat belts can’t prevent accidents, they can prevent serious injuries and save lives.

In addition to assuring that safety devices are properly working, investigators will also look at

The Daily Beast Explores Issue of Wandering in Adults with Autism

For people with autism, safety issues must be addressed at home, at school, at work and in the community.

When someone with autism leaves a safe area, like school or work, without notice or permission, it’s known as an “elopement.” People with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) often wander or bolt from safe spaces and this can have tragic consequences.

The Daily Beast (3.18.15) recently wrote about elopement in connection with Brian Gewirtz, 20, a man from Brooklyn with autism, who has been missing for a month. His family is understandably worried about him.

Heightened awareness of the dangers of autistic elopement was initiated by the death of Avonte Oquendo. On October 4, 2013, Oquendo, a 14-year-old boy with autism from Queens, wandered away from his Long Island City school. Video showed he ran out of the front door of his school while the security guard was looking the other way. His disappearance started a citywide search that ended in tragedy when his body was found three months later in the East River in Queens.

The greater understanding of elopement following the death of Oquendo inspired “Avonte’s Law.” Avonte’s Law requires that the federal government make grants to law enforcement agencies for finding people in case of elopements. The law also employs the assistance of GPS tracker devices given to the families of autistic children. This optional tracking technology would be available to families who request it. If Avonte’s family had access to a GPS tracker, they may have been able to locate him before he reached the river.

The Daily Beast quoted disability advocates in the weighing of both safety and the need to ensure civil rights for autistic individuals. The use of tracking technology has triggered civil liberties questions, especially when the GPS is employed with adults. As the Daily Beast explores in its article, autistic elopement cases bring up larger questions about what police and caregivers need to

New York Bakery Hires Workers with Developmental Disabilities Including Autism

Workplaces are supposed to accommodate employees with disabilities.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against qualified job applicants because they have disabilities like autism, but widespread discrimination is a continuing issue. In Schenectady, New York, a new business, Puzzles Bakery & Café is to be commended. More than half of the bakery-café’s workforce has a diagnosis of a developmental disability, primarily autism spectrum disorder (ASD), reported the Times Leader (3.22.15).

Owner Sara Mae Hickey prides herself on having a business that is an “integrated workplace.”

Puzzles will hold its grand opening on World Autism Awareness Day on April 2.

According to the Times Leader, citing Marcia Scheiner, president and founder of the Asperger Syndrome Training & Employment Partnership in New York City, it is estimated that 35 percent of young adults on the spectrum attend college and 85 percent of adults on the autism spectrum are either unemployed or underemployed. This is a dismaying statistic considering that the current rates of autism spectrum disorder now stand at 1 in every 68 children.

Workplaces are supposed to accommodate employees with disabilities. Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities who are employees or job applicants, unless to do so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer (“undue hardship”). A “reasonable accommodation” is defined as any change to a job or workplace that permits a qualified employee with a disability to apply for a job, to perform the essential duties of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities

People with ASD may experience any of a number of limitations. For example, people with ASD may be sensitive to sensory input like harsh light and sound. As a “reasonable accommodation”, an employer could reduce

Two Pedestrians Dead, Two Injured in New York Taxi Accident In the Bronx

A taxi driver will lose his Taxi & Limousine Commission license after allegedly killing two people and injuring two others, reported the New York Daily News (3.21.15). The innocent victims and their families, who he harmed, lost much more.

On Friday, March 20, the driver’s taxi crashed, jumped onto the sidewalk and hit four people waiting for a bus in the Bronx on Grand Concourse in Claremont. A girl, 5, and a man, 25, were killed in the accident and two others were hurt. The green cab that killed Tierre Clark and Kadeem Brown, 25 had first hit a parked car about a block away, before jumping the curb and hitting the pedestrians at the bus stop, reported NBC News (3.21.15), citing the New York Police Department. A man, 55, was in critical condition after being hit, and the fourth victim, a woman, 39, was in stable condition.

Police sad the cab driver was travelling in a service road travel lane when he struck the parked car, reported NBC News. Authorities were investigating whether either the weather or a medical condition played a role in the crash.

Every year, a number of New York residents and visitors are injured while passengers in taxis or when involved in collisions with taxis. Taxi drivers are liable for injuries they cause to pedestrians, passengers, bicyclists, or other drivers.

Individuals who have suffered injuries in a NYC taxi accident will likely contemplate their rights to compensation. New York ‘s “No-Fault” Insurance laws provide damages for an injured party’s basic economic losses. Under these NY insurance laws, taxi drivers are required to carry liability insurance with a minimum of $100,000 of coverage per person injured in an accident and a maximum of $300,000 per accident. While this coverage may help injured victims, this amount may not be nearly enough to cover the damages that victims and their families may suffer, including financial, physical and

School Crossing Guard Injured in Queens Car Accident

A school crossing guard was injured on the job after being hit by a car in Jackson Heights, Queens. Mary Cox, 76, was hospitalized following the accident

Cox was leaning against a parked car near P.S. 212 when it was sideswiped by another vehicle. The guard struck her head after being jolted to the ground. She was on duty at the time waiting for the children to be dismissed from a half-day of classes, reported NBC News (3.19.15).

Cox, a seven-year veteran crossing guard, was reported to be in stable condition.

The job of a crossing guard may be one of the most dangerous jobs at a school. Oftentimes, crossing guards are the only line of defense between the children going to and from school and drivers. Drivers who are running late may be speeding. Distracted drivers may be texting, using cell phones, eating, shaving or any number of other non-driving activities. In the mornings, children are trying to get to school at the same time people are trying to get to work. This circumstance alone puts many cars going through school crossings while many kids are trying to cross streets.

Crossing guards provide a critical role in helping school-age children safely cross streets. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there were 255 pedestrian fatalities in 2012 among children 14 and younger. An estimated 11,000 pedestrians injured were 14 and younger.

Crossing guards should be more appreciated.

From 1993–2008, 120 crossing guards died on the job in the U.S, reported the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In New York State, 10,540 crossing guards were employed in May 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Apparently, though, the state needs more. The NYC Department of Education website asks that principals understand that “it is difficult for the NYPD to provide as many guards as are requested each year.”

Lawyers at The Perecman Firm have experience helping

McDonald’s Faces Lawsuits Over Worker Safety

Cooking with hot oil or other hot liquids puts workers at risk of being burned from splashes or spills.

When it comes to the fast-food industry, safety troubles appear to be troublingly common, according to the New York Daily News (3.17.15), citing a national online survey of restaurant workers done by Hart Research Associates for the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. The survey found that 87 percent of fast food workers reported having at least one injury over the past year. During the same time period, 79 percent of the workers reported that they had been burned on the job. Close to two-thirds of the workers surveyed said they had been cut, and nearly one-third said they had been injured while lifting or carrying items in their store. Twenty-three percent said they fell on a wet, slippery or oily floor.

McDonald’s made international news after being hit with 28 health and safety complaints from employees in 19 cities. The lawsuits, filed with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), claim that the employees have suffered serious burns from their work at the restaurant.

Workers said that pressure to work quickly, combined with a lack of protective equipment and safety training, created a dangerous workplace. This led to dangerous accidents, some which resulted in severe burns. There appeared to have been many opportunities for injuries in the restaurants. While working at McDonald’s, workers had to handle boiling fryer oil and hot grills as well as cross floors that were wet or greasy.

The workers also said that the restaurants lacked first aid kits. Managers were allegedly telling workers they should treat their burns with condiments.

The complaints were filed at both corporate and franchise locations. Cities where complaints were filed include Nanuet, New York and New York, New York. The workers said that they want the fast-food corporation to take responsibility for the hazards in its restaurants.


Woman Killed by Flying Plywood From West Village Construction Site

Pedestrian safety must be considered at all construction sites.

The construction industry is one of the most dangerous industries to work in, and most construction workers understand that the threat of accidents is always present. This danger may not be as apparent to pedestrians walking near a construction site on their way to their destinations.

On St. Patrick’s Day, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a piece of plywood that flew off a construction site in the West Village. Gusts of wind had knocked it loose. Top winds in the area at the time of the accident were reaching 38 miles per hour, reported the New York Daily News (3.18.15), citing the National Weather Service.

The woman, 37, was walking on the sidewalk and talking on her phone when the flying 4-foot-by-8-foot sheet of plywood hit her. The woman was slammed into a wall at a parking garage. She struck her head and died, said the New York Daily News.

The accident occurred near the former site of St. Vincent’s Hospital which is now being converted into luxury condos. The plywood had come off a construction site security fence.

The New York Daily News called the tragedy a “freak” accident

A freak accident implies that something was close to impossible to predict. However, this accident could easily have been avoided. Someone is always responsible for construction site safety. A number of people, including the property owner, general contractors and sub-contractors, have a responsibility to make sure pedestrians are safe.

It’s worth noting that, according to the NYDN, the W. 12th St. building was the subject of a number of complaints during construction in 2013. There was a complaint about safety netting falling off the building, as well as a complaint about unsafe scaffolding. The NYC Department of Buildings found that a scaffold was improperly connected to the building at the 17th floor. These problems were fixed before anyone got