Investigation is underway following the tragic death of 37-year-old Tina Nguyen, who was struck by falling debris from a construction site in Greenwich Village on the evening of March 17th.
Winds on West 12th street at the time of the incident were raging at between 30 and 45mph. The wind apparently dislodged a piece of plywood from a 4×8 fence at a nearby construction site and hurled the piece of wood directly at Nguyen, who was walking on the sidewalk.
The falling construction debris slammed into Nguyen, propelling her into a nearby building where her head smashed into an FDNY standpipe. The impact caused serious head trauma (the cause of traumatic brain injury), bruising and lacerations. She succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead shortly after midnight at nearby Bellevue Hospital.
Following the construction accident, the Department of Buildings issued a stop-work order and sent inspectors to investigate the integrity of the worksite. Any agency spokesman announced that “it is the responsibility of building owners and construction site managers to ensure their properties are safeguarded and in code- compliant conditions at all times.”
Nevertheless, the piece of plywood ultimately responsible for a pedestrian death was left, unattended on the sidewalk for several hours after the incident. It was eventually nailed back onto the security fence.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of a pedestrian who was walking near the construction site on West 12th Street,” announced Turner Construction spokesman Chris McFadden, following media speculation that serious violations were being leveled against both Turner and the property owners for maintaining an unsafe construction site.
Indeed, the Department of Buildings issued a statement to press, stating in no uncertain terms that “it is the responsibility of building owners and construction site managers to ensure their properties are safeguarded and in code compliant conditions at all time. A failure to do so can result in enforcement action by the department, including the issuance of violations.”
As of Thursday, reports state that the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration will also investigate the incident, out of concern for construction worker safety.
Comments from bystanders in the area given to news outlets covering the story show a sobering fear that accidents like this are not as unusual as they should be. One source reported to CBS news that her greatest fear was being injured while passing an unsafe construction site. “Not from burglars, muggers or terrorists, but construction,” she said while another decided, “I’m not walking down 12th street. I’m going around.”
The Law Offices of Michael S Lamonsoff specialize in construction accident cases, as well as personal injury suits relating to workplace negligence such as an unsafe construction site.
If you or anyone you know is aware of an unsafe construction site in the NYC area, report it to 311 immediately. These accidents can be prevented.
If you or someone you know has been injured by falling debris or has been the victim of fallen construction debris which resulted in a pedestrian death near an unsafe construction site, give us a call today. We will provide you with an absolutely free legal consultation about your specific case, and will be happy to represent you with over 100 years of combined experience backing our aggressive team.
Give us a call now at (212) 962-1020.