A construction worker was crushed to death while on the job. Ironworker Peter Zepf, 52, was helping to construct a green roof on the Barclays Center in Brooklyn when he was fatally injured by massive steel beams called joists.
Zepf was working to move the beams from a truck onto a hoist when the beams fell on him. A fellow construction worker explained in the New York Daily News (2.25.15), “The load was top heavy, the truck driver unhooked it without being told, (and) it toppled right on top of him.” The worker was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Department of Buildings and New York Police Department were investigating the accident.
Ironworkers perform physically demanding and dangerous work daily. According to CNN News, citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ironworker occupations rate among the top ten most dangerous jobs in the United States. In 2013, ironwork was named the fifth most dangerous job, with 37 deaths for every 100,000 workers
Falling is the leading cause of construction worker deaths and a significant danger to ironworkers. Ironworkers often perform tasks several feet above the ground. One wrong step and an ironworker can fall, resulting in serious injury or death. In this case, the ironworker was crushed by a heavy beam. Getting struck by object is the second leading cause of death on construction sites, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Objects fall from heights all too frequently on construction sites and ironworkers are often hit by them.
Workers’ compensation insurance in New York covers a worker’s death regardless of whether the employer or employee was at fault. If a person was at work and work caused that person’s death then workers’ compensation benefits apply. Workers’ comp does not consider the question of fault in determining whether benefits apply so long as the person who died was acting within the scope of employment. In the case of a death, surviving family members of the worker may recover damages through workers’ compensation death benefits. An experienced lawyer can help ensure that a worker’s loved ones will be able to receive the maximum possible compensation.
The New York Daily News story cited is “Iron worker at Barclays Center crushed to death by steel beams: police.”