On the same day the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced that it would take steps to make elevators in its buildings safer, a mechanic was electrocuted while working at the agency’s Coney Island Houses in Brooklyn.
Igor Begun died from a fatal shock he received Friday while he was working in the elevator machine room. A colleague found the 54-year-old NYCHA employee unconscious.
It was the second fatality – amid a spate of accidents -- to occur recently in NYCHA buildings. The NYCHA said on Friday that it would take “immediate and long-term corrective actions” to abate the elevator hazards.
Michael Halpin, organizer for Local 1 IUEC, said that people working on the elevators in our apartment buildings, workplaces, hospitals, and schools are often untrained and unlicensed. “Contractors and authorities get to decide whether or not they are going to responsibly train their elevator workers.”
Halpin noted that in thirty-four states and the District of Columbia, contractors and authorities are required to train mechanics, who must be licensed.
The head of the elevator division was fired and five employees reassigned after an 81-year-old tenant died and another tenant fractured his leg due to malfunctioning elevators.
The NYCHA said it would implement new brake monitor protocols; find ways to classify elevator problems; and improve communications between 911/first responders and the agency.