A construction worker was critically injured after he fell five stories from a condominium construction site and was impaled on the steel rebar below, according to reports. The accident happened at 34 West 17th Street and 6th Avenue in the Flatiron District on Wednesday morning.
The unidentified Empire Builder Corp. worker was taken to Bellevue Hospital where he was listed in critical condition, officials said.
James Apolito, 31, an elevator technician, comforted the victim as he lay impaled. He said the construction company should have placed caps on the points of the rebar, which is a city requirement.
“I just really wish they would have added the orange caps to the rebar,” Apolito told reporters. “It went right through him.”
According to the Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler, the worker fell off a ladder while installing sheet rock on a ceiling frame.
A Buildings Department preliminary investigation found that the worker was not wearing the proper safety gear at the time of the accident. The agency said the proper equipment would include a harness or covering for the shaftway.
In August, the Buildings Department handed the project developer and the building owners a $1,000 fine for unsafe or improper use of elevator or hoisting equipment, according to records. The fine was paid, but the builders had not corrected the problem as of November. They received another $1,500 civil penalty for failing to correct the violation.
The 25,000 square foot, 12-story building was bought by Lower East Side-based real estate developers Atkins & Breskin about a year ago. The developer was converting the building into high-end condos with shopping on the first floor.
The attorneys at Morgan Levine Dolan have recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients, most of whom have been injured in construction accidents. We represent members of numerous unions who are injured by either falling objects or falls from heights at construction sites. We also make sure all possible benefits are obtained through workers’ compensation.
If a loved one has been injured or killed in a construction accident, contact Jared Levine of Morgan Levine Dolan today.