Two Workers Killed in Queens

Construction continues to be the deadliest occupation here in New York City. It seems that there isn't a week that goes by without a news report of construction workers seriously injured or killed while on the job.

The most recent example happened Tuesday, Nov. 22 in Queens when crane operator George Smith (age 47) and construction worker Alessandro Ramos (age 43) were killed when a steel beam fell from a crane. According to officials, the initial reason for the accident was failure of the crane's rigging, but there were gusty winds that could also have also been a contributing factor. The accident occurred around noon at a site in the Briarwood neighborhood when the 6,500-pound beam was lifted up four stories before it fell, hitting the crane cab and Ramos, who was helping guide the maneuver from the ground using flags.

Safety Protocols for Cranes

This is a potent reminder of the dangers of working on a construction site or even being near one - it's not uncommon for construction accidents to also injure or kill people passing by. Mayor Bill DiBlasio temporarily increased safety standards of crawling cranes in February of 2016, saying that the cranes must cease operation when there are sustained winds of 20 mph and gusts up to 30 mph. Those rules, however, were fought by industry advocates who said that the stoppages cost money and didn't impact safety. The threshold was subsequently returned to sustained winds of 30 mph and higher. The winds on the day of the accident were said by weather officials to be over 30 mph. The crane in the accident was inspected in June and passed.

What Can be Done

On the job accidents are often because of human error, a product defect or inadequate safety protocols. If you, a friend or a family member was injured on the job, construction or otherwise, the wise course of action is seek medical help to aid in the recovery.

It is also a good idea to contact a personal injury attorney who has experience with on the job injuries. While insurance may cover some of the costs for recovery, there are usually out of pocket expenses that add up as well as possible long-term injuries that impact a worker's ability to earn. In the case of death, an insurance policy will be helpful, but it may not be enough nor cover the money that the victim would have otherwise earned in their career.

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