Five Workers Fired in Relation to Fatal New York Construction Accident

Posted on Mar 12, 2012

UPDATE — Five elevator maintenance workers were fired February 29 after an investigation into a fatal New York elevator accident cited safety violations as the cause for the incident.

Suzanne Hart was crushed to death last December when the elevator she was entering suddenly started moving while she was still in the doorway. Hart was an employee for an advertising firm whose offices are located in the building.

One of Hart’s coworkers was inside the elevator at the time of the accident and has sued for injuries she received as well as for the trauma of watching another person die in the gruesome accident.

According to New York City’s Department of Investigation, proper safety protocol was not followed in repairs being made on the elevator just hours before Hart’s death. Five elevator repairmen and apprentices from Transel Elevator Inc. were on site to slow down the speed of the elevators in the building.

An investigation report states that a safety feature that prevents elevators from moving while the doors are open was turned off when the accident occurred. The report further states that the five workers on duty failed to follow other safety steps, such as blocking off the elevators with caution tape while they were working.

One of the workers on site admitted that the safety mechanism was temporarily turned off, but he maintains that the switch had been turned back on before the accident.

Nonetheless, he and four of his coworkers have been fired in relation to the incident. Transel executives say the firings are in an attempt to ensure “the highest level of safety.”

The city’s Buildings Department has also suspended a key license for one of Transel’s executives. Transel, however, is denying the charges and plans to fight the investigation’s findings.

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