FDNY Rescues Trapped Construction Worker From Queens Site

WNBC 4 - September 23, 2017

by nbc local

Fallen machinery trapped and critically injured a worker at a Queens construction site Friday afternoon, fire officials say, one day after two workers were killed in separate accidents at other construction sites in New York City.

A Bobcat machine somehow fell on top of a worker at the construction site on Northern Boulevard and 46th Street in Sunnyside at about 1:45 p.m., pinning him underneath, the FDNY says.

Firefighters performed a high-angle rescue, which took about a half hour, and transported him to Elmhurst Hospital.

Officials are investigating how the accident happened. A subway system ventilation plant is being built at the site as part of the MTA NYC Transit Capital Program, according to a sign there.

The victim is at least the fourth construction worker to have been injured or killed on the job in New York City in two days. On Thursday, 36-year-old Juan Chanillo fell to his death while working on a luxury condo project at 161 Maiden Lane in the Financial District. Hours later, a 45-year-old man died after falling from a bucket lift about 36 feet off the ground in midtown at Ninth Avenue and 33rd Street. A colleague was also injured in the fall.

Stop-work orders were issued for both sites, and violations could be announced for the construction companies working on the sites.

The I-Team first reported that nearly 40 construction workers have died on city job sites since 2015. The tragedies were dominating discussion among construction workers across the city Friday.

"It's terrible. You don't wanna hear about anybody dying on the job, especially when they have a family go to back to," said worker Juan Olivares.

"It's all you can do, look after yourself and people around you," said Tommy More.

Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peter acknowledged "there's been a disturbing number of construction fatalities in the last several years." He says he's formed a construction fraud task force looking for fake credentials at job sites, and is pushing for heavy fines and even criminal charges for violators.

"The fines are not sufficient, and we are taking the next step and beginning to hold people criminally accountable," he said.

The City Council is also poised to pass a new bill requiring 40 hours of safety training for construction workers -- four times what OSHA now requires -- and providing $5 million in taxpayer money to pay for it. "People are just falling. They're human beings and just falling," city councilman Jumaane Williams said Friday. "We cannot do nothing. And we want."

Critics of the bill say it would only help unions, and could cost some workers their jobs.