New York Construction Accident Kills Seven People

On March 15, 2008, in a fatal New York construction accident, a construction crane collapsed on East 51rst Street in Manhattan, killied seven people and injuring several others. Aides to the Manhattan borough president, Scott Stringer, said they had been told by the Office of Emergency Management that the crane fell on two buildings, destroying one at 305 East 50th Street and partly collapsing the building at 301 East 50th Street. The big white crane which fell appeared to be about 20 stories tall, according to onlookers. Firefighters carried stretchers at the scene of the accident, as people were feared to be trapped beneath the wreckage. Apparently, just before the crane collapsed, it was lifting material that apparently fell and struck a girder that connected the crane to the building.

Construction has increasingly become a deadly business — especially in New York, where laborers routinely dangle from skyscrapers, all part of a building boom that has defied the national slowdown. In January, in another New York fatal construction accident, high-rise concrete forms collapsed at the site of Donald Trump’s hotel and condo complex in Lower Manhattan. An Ukrainian immigrant worker who was the father of several children was decapitated as he plunged 42 stories to his death. Three others were injured.

Two months earlier, another immigrant worker was killed when he fell 15 stories, prompting the creation of a task force to cut down on scaffolding accidents.

At least 43 people died while working construction in New York in 2006, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, up 87 percent from the year before when 23 people died. Across the United States, construction ranks as the most dangerous industry, representing about 20 percent of all work-related fatalities, according to federal statistics.