The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating a fatal accident involving a construction worker in Jamaica, Queens.
The death of Edgar Pazmino on March 13 occurred at a time when New York legislators are considering a bill that would protect workers from employers who fail to follow safety protocols at construction sites, according to the Queens Chronicle. The 34-year-old man suffered fatal head injuries in a forklift accident.
OSHA is probing whether workplace safety violations played a role in the incident that resulted in Pazmino's death. If safety violations are found, the company could receive citations or penalties.
Pazmino worked for a company that manufactures metal windows and doors. There are different published accounts describing how the accident happened, according to the Queens Chronicle. One report stated Pazmino was riding on the back of a forklift when his head "struck a low-clearance obstruction." Other reports stated windows fell on him after a forklift mishap.
One thing is clear: The death of Pazmino is a tragedy that could have been avoided. No family should have to hear news that a loved one who went to work on a construction site in the morning won't be coming home because of an accident.
Proposed law would create additional fines, penalties
The bill under consideration would create increased fines and penalties for an employer or supervisor who "ignores, disregards or fails to comply with workplace safety by protocols or procedures, and that contributes directly to bodily injury, serious physical injury or the death of a worker."
As experienced workers' compensation attorneys, we commend lawmakers for supporting legislation that protects workers and results in consequences for employers or supervisors who cut corners.
The Queens Gazette recently published a report about a new law that would help prevent construction-related deaths. Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law Local Law 196, which went into effect March 1, less than two weeks before Pazmino died.
The law requires construction workers and their supervisors to draft a site and safety plan and complete safety training. The law mandates that workers receive 40 to 55 hours of training and supervisors receive 60 to 75 hours.
In 2017, three workers died; there were 95 injuries and 84 accidents, according to the Queens Gazette.
Citing Department of Buildings statistics, the report stated 12 people died in New York City construction accidents last year and 666 injuries were reported throughout the city in 2017.
Stronger laws are a step in the right direction, but families who lose loved ones in accidents will need an experienced attorney on their side who has a comprehensive understanding of the legal system.
Don't hesitate to contact an attorney at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP if a loved one is killed in an accident or sustains an injury. We have hundreds of years of combined experience. You can count on us to help you on your path to justice.