Roof collapse kills construction worker at Staten Island site

Contractor has troubled safety history, including criminally negligent homicide

A roof collapse at a Staten Island car dealership has killed one construction worker, according to the Staten Island Advance. The fatal accident occurred as the workers were demolishing the building. The site has previously been the subject of safety violations and the contractor involved in the demolition also has a troubled safety record, including a notable fatal accident that led to a criminally negligent homicide conviction against the contractor in 2007.

Roof collapses

There were four construction workers in the building at the time of the collapse. The workers had been demolishing the former car dealership, whose employees had already moved into a much larger building next door.

Three of the construction workers managed to escape unharmed from the wreckage. A 43-year-old man, however, became trapped underneath the debris and was taken to a nearby hospital. He was pronounced dead shortly after.

Troubled safety record

According to the New York Times, the contractor that was carrying out the demolition work has a less than stellar safety record. For one, records showed that the work permits at this particular site had already expired. Additionally, a job-site fence and improperly stored combustible materials at the site led to two citations being issued against the contractor by the New York City Buildings Department in 2013. Those issues had since been resolved.

Most seriously, the owner of the construction company pleaded guilty in 2007 to criminally negligent homicide in relation to the death of a worker in 2003. In that case, the owner admitted that he knew a trench, which eventually collapsed on the worker, was unsafe. The case was one of the few times where a contractor was held responsible for the death of a worker, although as part of his sentence, which was 16 weekends in jail, the contractor was allowed to keep working.

Defending injured workers

As this story shows, construction workers face increased risks everyday they go to work. Unfortunately, many of those risks are exacerbated by employers who fail to ensure proper safeguards are in place and that workers are not exposed to any undue harm.

A workplace accident, of course, doesn't just result in physical injuries to the worker, but also in emotional and economic suffering for his family as well. Medical bills and lost wages can result in increased hardship, especially if the breadwinner of the family is no longer able to work. In such cases, it is vital to contact a personal injury attorney who has a record of standing up for the rights of injured workers. Such an attorney can help workers and their families understand the legal options at their disposal and, if possible, pursue whatever compensation claims may be available.