A 59-year-old construction worker died earlier this month after falling 18 feet from site at New York City’s Times Square.

The victim was identified in news reports as Jose Cruz. The accident occurred when Cruz fell from an I-beam near the second floor of the building while helping to remove part of a steel deck from a slab.

PPE was worn by victim

City Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler said he thought the fall was “completely preventable” and noted that there should have been tie offs with fall protection equipment Cruz was wearing. Chandler told reporters that the job would be shut down for some time and promised an increase in safety inspections in the city.

“We have to get the message out to these contractors that this building is not worth anybody's life.”

Gary LaBarbera, president of the 100,000 member Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, said the incident resulted from an “improperly trained, exploited worker on a nonunion job site.”

"A push to execute quickly"

Safety advocates have complained that pressure to rapidly erect high-end properties has led companies to take safety shortcuts -- and inspectors to look the other way.

The general contractor on the project is Streamline USA. According to the company’s website, “Those on the commercial side interject an exciting drive and push to execute quickly, no matter that the shifts are 24 hours long and run all weekend, so they can wrap up and move on.”

A study released earlier this year said there were safety violations at 90 percent of the city’s construction sites where there’d been fatalities.