Thursday, June 24, 2004

Chinese Worker Killed in NY Trench Identified

A Chinese immigrant construction worker who was killed June 7 when a wall collapsed into a trench in New York was identified by Chinese officials as Jian Guo Shen, 43.
After the accident, the Department of Buildings issued building code violations to the project's developer, Yong Fa Cai, and his company, USA Heng Tai Inc., for failing to provide any "sheeting, shoring or bracing" to protect their workers.

The project has since been aborted, and the site is expected to be backfilled soon, said Ilyse Fink, a spokeswoman for the buildings department. Meanwhile, investigations opened by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Queens district attorney's office are continuing, and several elected officials have called for tougher penalties against contractors who flout safety rules.

Mr. Shen's death has also opened a window onto an often anonymous network in which workers from China depend on personal references and help-wanted ads to land risky work for which they may not even be trained.