A 28-year-old man who died July 12 was the fifth construction worker killed on the job in New York City in 2018, according to news sources. Angel Espinoza was killed when he was hit on the head by a beam that fell 12 stories from a scaffold that was being dismantled on the roof of a building in the city’s Morningside Heights neighborhood. Espinoza was part of a crew working on a residential building affiliated with Columbia University.
The New York Department of Buildings issued a stop-work order and a violation to the contractor, Pratt Construction & Restoration, for “failure to safeguard all persons & property affected.”
The New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health (NYCOSH) said Espinoza, an immigrant from Ecuador, left behind a wife and three children; an 11-year-old, a 6-year-old, and a baby.
A memorial service was held on July 27 for Espinoza.
What’s behind New York City’s high construction fatality rate? Safety advocates have accused developers of having undue influence on city officials and contractors of taking safety shortcuts. A bill that would make criminal negligence leading to a worker’s death or serious injury a felony and increase the fine for it from $10,000 to $500,000 passed the Assembly in June, but its state Senate version never got a hearing.
NYCOSH Director Charlene Obernauer said 95% of construction fatalities in the city occur on nonunion job sites.