One New York Passerby a Month Is Injured from Construction Work

April 23, 2015

After last month’s construction accident at the Greenwich Lane site in the Village, in which a piece of flying plywood killed a young woman named Tina Nguyen who was just walking by, the Wall Street Journal investigated construction injuries to passersby (not construction workers). Their analysis of Department of Buildings data shows that on average one passerby per month is injured at a New York City construction site. According to the paper, “From 2008 through 2014, there were 96 construction accidents involving pedestrians and other passersby in New York City, resulting in 155 injuries. More than three-quarters of the accidents took place in Manhattan.”

It should be noted that the data doesn’t include accidents where no one was injured, like the slab of plexiglass that dislodged at One57 last month and fell on two cars below (or the two other times glass fell from One57). Still, injuries to both construction workers and passersby are at the highest they’ve been in seven years, with the economy and increased construction likely playing a part. According to the Journal, “In 2014, 18 construction accidents involving bystanders were reported, the most of any year since 2008, when the city began providing accident details. Twenty-two people were hurt, the third-highest annual total on record.” The figures are far worse for construction workers themselves: Last year alone, 237 workers were injured and eight were killed.

Over the past six years, falling tools and materials accounted for 41 passerby accidents, injuring 61 people: 26 pedestrians were struck by bricks; nine by debris; six by wood posts, planking, or plywood; and five people were hit with wet concrete pouring down. As far as construction fences, the culprit for Ms. Nguyen’s death, the building code was revised last year to mandate that fences be able to withstand 80-mile-per-hour winds. The fence at the Greenwich Lane site was installed in 2012. After the incident, the developer, Rudin Management, and the contractor, Turner Construction Co., were ordered to stop work for an investigation. Nine days later, work resumed, and the review is ongoing.

[Via WSJ]


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