- A New York City construction worker died Monday afternoon when he fell from a 15th floor scaffold to the sidewalk below.
- The New York City Department of Buildings has begun an investigation at the jobsite at 263 West End Ave., an apartment building. The department enforces New York City’s building codes and regulations, and issues permits and licenses.
- The DOB determined that the worker, an unidentified man, was installing netting around a supported scaffold when he fell. The DOB issued a full stop work order. It was not clear whether the worker was wearing fall protection equipment.
The worker was employed by local scaffolding company Rennon Construction, and the general contractor on the site is Brooklyn-based exterior restoration company J&S Waterproofing, DOB spokesperson Ryan Degan told Construction Dive. Any additional action beyond the stop work order will depend on an ongoing investigation.
New York’s unique Scaffold Law places the full liability on contractors and owners when a construction worker falls while not wearing proper safety equipment. The law is decried by employer groups who say it unreasonably inflates liability costs.
The construction worker is the eighth who has died on the job in New York City this year, according to DOB spokesperson Ryan Degan.
NYC construction worker deaths
Falls accounted for 37% of construction worker deaths in 2020, more than any other cause. That’s a trend that has persisted since at least 2011. OSHA and other employment agencies say all of these deaths are preventable with proper safety equipment and protocols.
A bill on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s desk — dubbed “Carlos’ Law” after deceased worker Carlos Moncayo — would raise minimum corporate fines to $300,000 for misdemeanors and $500,000 for felonies in an effort to hold criminally negligent employers accountable. The state’s current limit is $10,000. Justin Henry, deputy communications director for Hochul, told Construction Dive the governor is still reviewing the legislation.
Degan said the DOB finds all deaths “unacceptable” and an investigation into the worker’s demise Monday will attempt “to determine whether any corners were cut” that contributed to the worker’s death.