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In March of this year, a construction worker died and two others were injured in a building collapse in downtown New York City. The building, a century-old, two-storey warehouse in a West Harlem neighborhood in Manhattan, was being demolished as part of a planned expansion project for Columbia University. Obviously, although the building was being torn down, it did not come down as expected, with tragic consequences. Demolition is an important part of many construction projects, but it is incumbent upon building owners and contractors to take precautions to ensure the safety of workers as they engage in the demolition process.
New York Labor Law 241(6) requires contractors, owners and their agents to provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to demolition workers by making sure that all areas of the structure are shored and guarded to prevent an unintentional collapse. Specific provisions of the New York Code, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) go even further, with specific requirements regarding demolition operations, including demolition by hand and mechanical methods of demolition. These rules describe how walls and other structures may be demolished in a safe manner. The rules require continuing inspections to detect any hazards and prohibit allowing people to work in areas that have not been adequately shored or braced to protect the worker from a collapse.
It appears that in this case a structural beam may have been severed before adequate precautions were put in place. An injury that occurs in violation of New York Labor Law and an accompanying NYCRR may result in liability for the owner or contractor. An experienced New York personal injury lawyer can help obtain compensation to cover the expenses caused by one of these catastrophic injuries or needless and wrongful deaths. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a construction, excavation or demolition accident in New York City, contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. for a free consultation regarding your rights to financial compensation for your injuries.