The New York Personal Injury Blog

Brighton Beach Construction Collapse: SP&K Negligent Per Se?

Last fall’s Brighton Beach construction collapse has resurfaced in the news, thanks to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA cited SP&K Construction on Monday for 11 safety violations on the Brighton project, reports NBC New York.

The fines could amount to more than $77,000, which is a pittance compared to their possible exposure for personal injury and wrongful death. This would be in addition to whatever fines result from the City’s nine ticketed violations which, according to NBC New York, were slapped upon the project shortly after the collapse.

So, do these violations amount to negligence per se? Negligence per se, or negligence in and of itself, is where a safety law is violated and that forms the basis of the proof in a personal injury case. An example would be if a car was made with airbags that violated federal safety standards and someone was injured as a result.

Here, SP&K was slapped with 11 OSHA violations and 9 City of New York violations. However, the nine city violations dealt with defective construction vents and missing guard rails. The OSHA violations dealt with misaligned exterior walls and insufficiently braced scaffolding.

The cause of the accident seemed to be that the construction workers poured concrete on the top floor first. (Normally, it is done bottom-up, which ensures a stable base for the added weight.)

Whether the OSHA and City violations have anything to do with the cause of collapse is a matter for architects and engineers to debate. If the violations can be tied to the collapse, or they aggravated the effects of the collapse, they may become relevant in a trial.

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