City: Brooklyn Scaffold Fatality Was Wearing a Safety Harness

June 21, 2017
By Joe Maniscalco

Scene of the deadly fall.

New York, NY - A 58-year-old man who fell to his death this past Sunday in Brooklyn while scraping paint off the facade at 1382 Nostrand Avenue was wearing the safety harness that should have been able to save his life. 

According to the Department of Buildings, Sirajul Houque was wearing a safety harness when the scaffold he was working on between Lenox Road and Linden Boulevard in East Flatbush, tipped over and dumped him onto the street four stories below. But the safety device Houque wore at the time was not actually clipped in. 

Houque was taken to Kings County Hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

The city issued a Partial Stop Work order on the restoration project in response to the incident, and further told LaborPress that SS Alam Construction Corp. — the company hired to do the work on Nostrand Avenue — would now be put under close scrutiny. 

Inspectors from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, who reportedly have jurisdiction over these kinds of restoration projects, were also dispatched to the fatal scene.  

Despite efforts to enact safety reforms, construction work in New York City continues to be outrageously fatal for far too many workers.  

Officially, more than 30 construction workers have died on the job in the last two years — the overwhelming majority of them immigrant workers on non-union job sites.

City Council Intro 1447 seeks, among other initiatives, to require apprentice-level training for all construction workers - both union and non-union alike.

However, developers and other real estate interests are strongly opposing the measure. 

This week, the Empire State Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors, argued that substance abuse on the part of construction workers is also a problem, and called for mandatory drug testing be included in Intro 1447. 

A DOB spokesperson said the Partial Stop Work Order placed on 1382 Nostrand Avenue will be lifted at the agency’s discretion.

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