Criminal charges have been filed against the 47-year-old owner of two different Brooklyn-based construction firms after one of his company’s workers died and two were injured after he demanded that they illegally excavate his land. He had previously been given explicit directives by the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) not to do so.
The man’s criminal indictment goes on to chronicle how, in the latter part of July of 2015, he began using the labor of grossly inexperienced workers to dig trenches around what was expected to be the perimeter of a new five-story building. While there were building plans that had been previously approved by the DOB, the man instructed workers to not follow them. Instead, they were instructed to excavate beyond the approved perimeter.
Workers expressed safety concerns over this. They highlighted how unstable the walls were and demanded extra equipment or more experienced workers to support them. They were alleged to have been told by the man to work faster instead. Ultimately, when the workers were asked to excavate along a rear wall at the site that a wall from an adjacent building collapsed, burying three workers underneath the debris.
An 18-year-old, who died at the site, suffered cardiac arrest, broken legs, lacerations and severe trauma to his head. The two injured workers both fractured their spines and each broke several other bones. They both continue to have limited mobility and pain.
In addition to manslaughter, reckless endangerment, homicide, and assault charges, the man is also accused of not having maintained proper licensing or workers’ compensation insurance as is required for businesses of his type.
This sudden increase in construction worker accidents can be attributed to their employers either ignoring proper safety protocols or not adequately training their contractors. This cost-saving measure is an approach that is happening with increasing frequency across each of New York City’s five boroughs. If you’ve been injured in an accident, a construction workers’ attorney can advise you of your rights to file a claim against your employer.
Source: Insurance Journal, “New York construction company owner indicted for manslaughter,” May 22, 2017