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Serious Safety Violations on Queens Construction Site

January 5, 2023
Seriously injured construction worker

46-year-old Holger Molina, an immigrant from Ecuador, was killed on April 6 when he was removing plywood at the construction site of Myrtle Point, a 17-story tower. It will be the tallest building in the Bushwick, Brooklyn, and Ridgewood, Queens areas upon completion.

The construction accident occurred at about 3 pm on a rainy day. Molina fell from a stairwell on the first floor into the basement. The drop was approximately 20 feet. He was transported to Wyckoff Hospital and died the next day from the injuries he suffered from the fall.

Following the fatal construction accident, an inspector from the Department of Buildings (DOB) visited the site and found that safety measures to protect workers were nonexistent. The DOB issued an “aggravated offense level two” violation, which is the most serious violation it can issue. An Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings judge upheld the violation and imposed a $25,000 on AB Capstone Builders Corp, the construction site’s contractor. This is the maximum penalty for that violation.

But the DOB issued additional violations for the same incident. The contractor’s penalties also increased to $55,000. It is crucial to note that the contractor was only penalized after the construction project had been completely suspended on three separate instances last 2021. Currently, the DOB has issued five stop-work orders on the construction site. For a building construction project, the number of stop-work orders is higher than normal.

This year, four construction accidents have led to worker injuries, apart from the deadly fall that resulted in Molina getting killed. None of the injured workers were unionized. Unfortunately, the project is still moving forward after the DOB lifted the orders and despite complaints from nearby tenants and Jessica Ramos, a state senator.

The Need for Criminal Prosecution in Construction Site Accidents

Injuries from construction site accidents are typically deemed work-related incidents where criminal negligence or intent is not explored. Contractors and other related parties only receive financial penalties when deaths are involved. Only one successful criminal prosecution after a Manhattan worker’s death has been undertaken, and several criminal prosecutions related to construction worker deaths in Brooklyn.

If the District Attorney’s Office in Queens presses charges against AB Capstone Builders Corp, for instance, it would be its first criminal prosecution of an entity responsible for the death of a construction worker that occurred in Queens.

The lack of criminal prosecutions doesn’t incentivize negligent contractors to ensure the safety of their workers. In most cases, these contractors write off civil penalties they are forced to pay as business expenses that do not really put a dent in their bottom line.

Speak to an Experienced Queens Construction Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a construction accident, you deserve compensation to help you heal and rebuild your life. To explore your legal options, reach out to the Queens construction accident lawyer at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman today. You can complete our online form or call 212-285-3300 to set up your free case review. Our lawyers can also guide you through a wrongful death suit if your loved one was killed in a construction accident.