hydraulic Foundation piles drilling machine on construction site

The project? A 38-story super luxe hotel, which is due to sprout out of midtown Manhattan sometime in the near future. The heavy equipment? A gargantuan hydraulic drill known as the “Casa Grande,” which is Spanish for “Big House.”

As the driver of the mobile drill attempted to pilot the large piece of equipment onto a construction site, the whole rig lost equilibrium, tilted, then tipped. The boom, which is the large vertical cylinder in the center of machine which encases the drill, came crashing down on a nearby van. In fact, it was an NYPD van that absorbed the blow. Luckily, no one was in the NYPD van at the time, and the driver of the Casa Grande also walked away unharmed. The boom, which is adjustable, and controlled by the driver, may have been raised slightly as the driver attempted to navigate over the curb, which altered the center of gravity, causing the imbalance and eventual topple.

The construction site in question is located on West 30th street and Sixth Avenue.

The real talking point, however, was that the adjacent sidewalk was not closed at the time of this accident. When large equipment like this is being transported onto or off of a construction site, it’s of paramount importance that the surrounding area is free of pedestrians. As a time-saving maneuver many foreman dangerously overlook this precautionary measure, confident in the abilities of their drivers. Accidents happen, though, and when they do, the rules are in place in order to limit innocent bystanders’ exposure to potential danger. Luckily, this accident didn’t end in catastrophe. But just because there were no injuries doesn’t mean the rules should be ignored. Evidently, the company in charge of this project had been cited by OSHA for workplace infringements in the past. We at Kaplan Lawyers PC only hope that they wise up and begin adhering to protocol before one of these oversights ends tragically.

Types of Heavy Equipment

  • Asphalt paver
  • Bulldozer
  • Backhoe
  • Cherry picker
  • Dredger
  • Dump truck
  • Excavator
  • Forklift
  • Grader
  • Loader
  • Scraper

 

A Growing Concern

This accident is illustrative, in a way, of what the New York Times considers a problematic rise in construction-related accidents. 2015 has been a banner year for construction site accidents- a dubious distinction. In a June article, the Times outlines the extent of the problem. As of June, 2015 had already witnessed 8 construction fatalities, more than double 2014’s figure, when only 3 died in construction-related accidents. 2015 is on its way to be the most deadly year for workers and for pedestrians killed in such accidents since 2008, when 19 were killed, due in part to the two catastrophic crane accidents that occurred that year.

While this might seem troubling at first glance, there’s actually a simple and explainable formula at work here. 2008 saw a boon in city construction projects, and 2015 is likewise experiencing an industrial surge. And it comes down to this: the more construction, the more construction accidents.

This year has seen a worker die after falling from a ladder, and another die after falling from a scaffolding. A tremendous HVAC unit fell from the top of a tall skyscraper earlier in the year, which injured 10 people, but fortunately killed none.

Some of these accidents can be prevented. Some cannot. The Times article highlights a bizarre incident where a fence, installed to keep pedestrians away from danger, came loose in a high wind and struck a woman. She did not survive. Accidents of this nature are unpredictable, and largely unavoidable. However, there are more commonly occurring types of workplace accidents that can be, if not prevented, limited greatly. By always following OSHA guidelines and never cutting corners in the name of profit, those that are in charge of workplaces can help minimize potentially injurious situations.