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Construction workers’ accidents: Mall roof collapses in New York

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sometimes, workplace accidents occur in which many lives could have been lost, but, miraculously, only minor injuries occur. One would think that such incidents would encourage a business owner to improve the company’s safety protocols. However, after a recent roof collapse in New York, it became known that the out-of-state contractor had a record of four prior safety violations after construction workers’ accidents since 2007.

This incident involved work that proceeded without the necessary permit on the roof of a shopping mall. Reportedly, the accident took place on a recent Wednesday, and the fire department called it a major collapse of the roof. However, authorities say an operator used a bobcat on the roof when it fell through into a store below. The operator of the bobcat and a passenger, along with four individuals in the store, suffered injuries that could have been fatal but turned out to be minor.

News investigators say they determined that the contractor was not in possession of the required permits to work on the roof, nor were authorities informed of the intended activity on the roof. This would have brought about an inspection of the roof, and if a permit had been issued, it would have set a limit to the weight of equipment to 4,500 pounds. However, the bobcat machine that moved about on the uninspected roof exceeded that weight by more than a ton. The actual weight of approximately 7,000 pounds caused the roof to collapse and the machine to fall 30 feet to the lower level.

The consequences of this incident could have been so much worse, and similar construction workers’ accidents in the past have caused life-changing injuries and even death. Injured victims can file benefits claims with the New York workers’ compensation insurance program. Benefits typically cover medical expenses and lost wages, and the guidance and support of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney are available.

Source: abc7ny.com, “Investigation uncovers permit violations at site of Yonkers roof collapse“, Jim Hoffer, Jan. 12, 2017

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