Wednesday, June 09, 2004

NY Construction Worker Killed in Trench

Criminal Charges Considered -- 2nd Time in Two Weeks

Another day, another nameless, invisible immigrant worker killed in a New York city construction site.

A Chinese immigrant construction worker was killed Monday, buried in an unshored 8 foot deep trench when an adjoining wall collapsed into the trench.
Fellow workers said the man who died was a recent immigrant from Shanghai who was in his 40's, lived in Flushing and had been part of the construction crew for only a few days. They said they did not know his name.

Investigators for the City Department of Buildings issued citations for building code violations against the developer in charge of the site and ordered that work be stopped until the violations were corrected.

The developer, Yong Fa Cai, and his company, USA Heng Tai Inc., were accused of failing to provide protection for their workers. City inspectors said the area where the workers were injured was eight feet deep, the wall that fell was 25 feet long and "no sheeting, shoring or bracing" had been erected to prevent the collapse.
The Manhattan District Attorney's office said that it was considering criminal charges.

The fatality was the second in two weeks where an immigrant construction worker was killed.
The accident came two weeks after another in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, in which Angel Segovia, a 37-year-old immigrant from Ecuador, was killed when an illegally constructed balcony roof collapsed beneath him. Both deaths have come amid calls by law enforcement officials, including Robert M. Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney, to vigorously pursue cases in which building code violations lead to injury, particularly those involving illegal immigrant workers who are reluctant to report their superiors.