Concrete Slab Kills Construction Worker on Site Previously Shut Down Over Safety Concerns

Law Firm Newswire



Washington, D.C. (Law Firm Newswire) November 12, 2014 – In New York City, a construction worker was recently killed on the job when a concrete slab from the building fell and crushed him.

Rodolfo Vasquez-Galian, 27, was part of a team working to excavate soil around a foundation wall. One of Vazquez-Galian’s co-workers sustained minor injuries in the accident.

Initial news reports on the incident have focused on the troubling history of safety violations associated with this and other projects undertaken by Sam Chang, a major New York City hotel developer.

“The loss of this young man’s life is absolutely tragic,” commented workplace injury attorney David Lietz of The Lietz Law Firm. “But what makes it even worse is the possibility that a basic level of attention to safety could have prevented the accident in the first place.”

According to a report in the New York Times, safety concerns have arisen at least twice before on this particular job site. In August, safety violations caused a partial shutdown for a day. Earlier in the year, investigators looked into the possibility that the construction was posing a risk to neighboring buildings, but they dismissed the idea after an inspection. 

A 2011 investigation by ABC News found that Tritel, a Sam Chang construction firm, had racked up tens of thousands of dollars in fines from safety violations. Tritel had not paid the fines, but he was still being issued new permits by the New York City Department of Buildings.

The New York Times reported that since 2006, Sam Chang’s firm has amassed hundreds of building violations.

“When employers make a business practice out of ignoring proper safety precautions, the likelihood of an accident just goes up and up,” said Lietz. “Hopefully, a thorough investigation will reveal exactly what happened here and put real urgency around preventing it from happening again in the future.”