The City of New York is suing to revoke the license of contractor Wlodzimierz Tomczak after a construction worker was killed at Manhattan work site. Nelson Salinas, age 51, was washing windows at 311 E. 50th Street when he was hit in the head and killed by a falling brick. The brick was knocked loose by the apparatus used to secure Salinas’ scaffolding to the building facade. The City’s Department of Buildings (DOB) filed in September 2019 to have Tomczak’s special rigger license revoked, claiming that he did not take proper precautions at the restoration project where Salinas died.
How the Fatal Accident Happened
Salinas was supported by scaffolding, working halfway up a 14-story residential building in April 2019. According to authorities, a coping stone was knocked loose by the rigging that was used to support the scaffolding. The dislodged stone struck Salinas in the head, causing fatal injuries. He died at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
How Was the Contractor Negligent?
Wlodzimierz Tomczak is the owner of Vlad Construction Ltd. based in Jamaica, Queens, according to City records. After Salinas’ fatal accident, the DOB found that Tomczak had failed to produce multiple inspection records related to the scaffolding setup.
A DOB official reported that Tomczak allowed his employees to determine the setup of the scaffold, which they completed improperly and in an unsafe manner. As the licensed special rigger, Tomczak was responsible for properly designing and inspecting the installation of the suspended scaffold personally. According to the DOB, Tomczak’s employees allegedly used a checklist they found on the internet to perform their inspections, and Tomczak did not even visit the site to inspect the rigging.
Violation of OSHA Safety Regulations for Scaffold Inspections
Under OSHA regulations, in addition to the construction of, criteria for, and use of scaffolding, general contractors are required to have scaffolds and scaffold components inspected for visible defects by a competent person before each work shift and after any occurrence that could affect the structural integrity of the structure.
Based on the Daily News article, in addition to violations regarding scaffold construction and use, Tomczak failed to have the scaffold inspected by a competent person before Salinas’ work shift, and Salinas’s death could have been prevented. Salinas’s surviving family members may have a valid wrongful death claim against Tomczak’s company.
New York Personal Injury Attorneys for Construction Accident Victims
At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, our New York construction injury lawyers have more than two decades of experience handling cases for workers and their families. We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a construction accident, call us at (212) 986-7353 to schedule a free consultation.