On October 12, a 43-year-old construction worker was killed due to a mechanical problem at a Brooklyn site. PIX11.com originally reported that “the worker was hit by a crane hook and fell to his death.” Publishing the same day, the New York Post, citing an open complaint on the New York City Department of Buildings website, blamed the incident on “a pile drilling machine” the worker had been operating “when a shackle from the machine snapped off and hit the worker in the head, knocking him unconscious.”
However, the following day, IrishCentral.com published conflicting details while citing the same complaint. According to that account, “Paul ’Gooch’ Kennedy was drilling piles at a site on 61 Bond Street in Boerum Hill at approximately 1:20 p.m. yesterday when a shackle from a crane overhead snapped. The piece of steel fell over 60 feet before hitting Kennedy on the head.” The crane at the site was anchored below street level but stood five stories tall.
A security guard at the site confirmed the death was due to a mechanical problem. The Post quoted him as saying, “The machinery malfunctioned….Something detached from the machine. It busted him in the head and he was dead.” However, the guard admitted he did not witness the accident: “I went to get some pizza and I came back and he was dead. It happened that fast.”
Ascertaining which piece of equipment malfunctioned is vitally important, both for the future safety of workers and for any wrongful death litigation that surely will arise from the incident. Pending further investigation, the subcontractor who provided the faulty machinery and the manufacturer who produced it seem likely to be joined as defendants in any civil lawsuit.
The worksite reportedly had a good safety record with just one citation for a safety violation from the Department of Buildings last May. Mr. Kennedy was the 18th fatality in New York City this year related to the construction industry.
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