Construction site accident - Worker falls two stories, seriously injured at Union Avenue building

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A construction worker sustained serious injuries when he slipped and fell two stories while working on a renovation of a Williamsburg building last Thursday afternoon.

Domingos Mouto, a Long Island resident, slipped and fell off a wooden platform while attempting to attach guardrails to the platform, which is being used in the conversion of a former one-story warehouse into a six-story residential building at 380 Union Avenue.

As of press time, he was in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit of Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan.

According to police, Mouto was reaching for a wooden board when he slipped and fell from the platform on the fourth floor to the second floor. One witness account, however, held that he stepped into an area where he felt a plywood bridge was supposed to be.

According to witnesses and a Department of Buildings (DOB) spokesperson, it is believed Mouto was not wearing his mandatory safety harness and “lifeline” at the time of the accident.

The incident is currently under investigation by the Occupation Safety and Health Administration, according to agency spokesperson John Chavez.

The DOB issued a stop-work order for failure to provide guardrails at the site. The stop-work order applies to all work except for remedial work to make the site safer for workers.

The agency has also issued two other violations, though these violations were not related to the accident, a spokesperson said.

“As the investigation into the incident continues, additional violations may be issued,” the DOB spokesperson said.

Failure to wear a harness is a violable offense, punishable by a fine to the contractor of up to $6,000, the DOB spokesperson said.

Calls to the contractor, the Bath Beach-based J.F. Contracting, were not returned.

Councilmember Diana Reyna called the accident “a terrible yet predictable tragedy,” saying it was caused by the frantic pace of development in her district.

“There has to be greater accountability from all sides: DOB, the contractors, and the individual worker,” she said. “There is an incredible abundance of development in this community, contractors are cutting corners and saving costs, and sometimes carelessness supersedes safety.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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