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A 43-year-old construction worker was recently killed while working at a downtown Brooklyn construction site when a piece of machinery malfunctioned. Paul Kennedy of the Bronx's Woodlawn section had stepped out of the operating booth of a pile-drilling crane when a steel shackle broke off and fell at least 60 feet to strike him in the head. Even though some reports said that Kennedy wore a helmet, the blow left him unconscious and he was eventually pronounced dead at the scene.

The deceased had worked for the Broadway Construction Group, who was the general contractor on the 18,000-square-foot construction site. The crane was anchored below ground and rose up five stories. The police, OSHA and the city's Department of Building have ordered a stop to the job while an investigation is conducted. The lot is being converted from a parking lot to a 13-story hotel slated to open in 2018.

Unfortunately, this accident is not an isolated incident. We've blogged about how 2015 was a deadly year for construction workers in NYC with 17 fatalities in all. This year looks to be on pace with that. Part of a trend of construction fatalities in the past few years, this is due to an outgrowth of the booming construction market fueled by skyrocketing real estate prices here in the city.

In reaction to this trend, Mayor de Blasio announced in February of 2016 that the city would quadruple penalties for safety hazards with more enforcement hired to inspect the city's many work sites. The state is also getting onboard with Senate Bill S882 currently in committee to establish a construction safety task force, which will advise the city on issues related to safety.

Many of those injured or killed in construction accidents are immigrants who are contractors. Because these workers are further down the construction food chain, they end up doing less desirable jobs that are more dangerous. They may not also feel they are in a position to say anything about working conditions because they don't want to be fired. But the sad truth is that many of these fatalities and other accidents probably could have been avoided if there were more stringent safety protocols.

All of us have the right to a safe working environment, whether they are union workers, union journeymen or even undocumented workers that are contractors. Everyone is entitled to receive adequate compensation for injuries incurred while on the job. If you or a loved one is injured on a job site, contact an attorney experienced in helping injured workers and their families receive compensation. While money will not bring back loved ones or heal debilitating injuries, it will go a long way towards covering medical costs, lost wages and treating the lingering pain resulting from a traumatic injury.

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