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Long Island Construction Worker Dies of Apparent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

When most people think about deadly construction accidents, what usually come to mind are falls, fires and incidents involving heavy equipment. Unfortunately, there are silent and invisible hazards on construction sites as well. The recent death of a Long Island construction worker proves this sad fact.

While Victor Irizarry was working to repair a drainage pipe in Fort Salonga, he stopped responding to his co-worker. Entering the pipe to reach Mr. Irizarry, the co-worker came back out after experiencing a burning sensation in his airways. The Kings Park Fire Department was called. They detected a high level of carbon monoxide in the pipe and, after retrieving Mr. Irizarry’s body, pronounced the construction worker dead.

Construction companies and workers should always be aware of the potential for exposure to dangerous substances, especially in confined, poorly ventilated areas. Hazards might not be obvious, so there are certain precautions that contractors and workers should take, including:

  • Proper detection — Carbon monoxide is invisible and odorless, so someone breathing in the deadly gas might not even be aware of the danger until it is too late. Whenever a possibility of exposure exists, monitors should be in place to sound an alarm as soon as the carbon monoxide level becomes a problem.
  • Safety equipment — Anytime there might be a threat of carbon monoxide poisoning, everyone on the work site should have ability to protect themselves. Safety measures such as masks and breathing assistance equipment might be the difference between a minor scare and an irreversible tragedy. Welders, steel workers and oil refinery employees face an enhanced risk and should be properly outfitted.
  • Awareness of dangerous situations — There are several potential carbon monoxide hazards on a construction site. Running a portable generator, operating a gas-powered tool or even using a heater in a small space without proper ventilation can be extremely dangerous. Great care should also be taken with chemicals and other hazardous substances used in the construction process.

No matter what type construction site accident occurs, finding out the truth about who is responsible can be a difficult challenge. Often, there are numerous individuals and companies at a location, and when a problem arises, fingers point at each other. If you believe that negligence contributed to a construction’s worker’s carbon monoxide poisoning or another type of medical problem, Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP can investigate immediately. Our firm seeks fair compensation for clients in Nassau and Suffolk counties who have been harmed on building and repair projects.