Our Stories

Cresencio Pantoja

“I was never given a safety harness and I was not given a secured line to attach a safety harness. My boss was more concerned with production than safety… It’s painful to explain to my young children why I cannot play with them. That accident forever changed my life — I have not and will never been the same.”
–Cresencio Pantoja, injured on a Bronx construction site

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Dildar Hossain

“Prior to my accident, I worked on some construction projects in Brooklyn but for this job, the contractor drove me and four other workers from Brooklyn to Albany. I was a simple day laborer and was not given any hardhat or safety instructions. I was just given a ladder and told to go to work.

My case went to mediation and settled in November of 2012. Without the Scaffold Safety Law, I would have been unable to recover compensation against the contractor.” -Dildar Hossain

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Robert Dungan

“My injuries changed my entire life. I have a 10-year old son and we can’t go fishing, can’t hike or ride bikes together, and can’t walk on the beach together anymore. I am paralyzed from the waist down and in a wheelchair. On some days, I can take a few steps by using two canes. I have no balance and no feeling in my legs….I’ll never be able to work again…My employer had a long history of OSHA violations with over $100,000 in fines accumulated over a ten-year period prior to my accident. My employer didn’t care about safety and he didn’t want to spend the money on safety.” -Robert Dungan

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Pedro Corchado

“I worked in that job for five years before the accident and took great pride in my work. Sadly, I won’t be able to work again in construction…the contractor and owner controlled the safety of that job site and never provided me with the right equipment.”
–Pedro Corchado, injured on a Manhattan construction site

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Wayne Boivin

“At my work site the day I was injured in September of 2005, I was not provided any fall protection. There was no netting for fall protection and no harness to use to tie off. If there was netting, I would have fallen onto the netting instead of hitting the ground. My supervisor only told us to put a scaffold on the edge of the roof; no other safety instructions were given to us. The contractor was more concerned with the way the houses were being built and how fast they were being built than the safety of the workers.” -Wayne Boivin

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Raymond Bell

“I passed out again and was in a coma for a month. I spent a total of two months at Bellevue Hospital. Afterwards, I needed long-term rehabilitation at a center on Roosevelt Island.

I suffered a head injury, permanent nerve damage to my feet, had my right elbow crushed, and fractured my left arm, among other fractures. More than a dozen years have passed since my accident in 2000 but I’m still in pain when I walk.” –Raymond Bell

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David Belding

“My case settled in 2011 [after seven years of litigation] and the Scaffold Safety Law gave me back as much of my life as I could get under the circumstances. Workers compensation didn’t cover my quality of life or all of the surgeries I needed. It would have been a financial disaster without Labor Law 240. Changing the Scaffold Safety Law would destroy the lives of workers injured at gravity related accidents.” -David Belding

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Alejandro Alpirez

“On and prior to the day of my fall, I was never provided proper safety equipment. I was not given a safety harness, a lanyard or even a place to anchor a lanyard had I been provided with one. The scaffold was unsecure….Although other workers suffered minor injuries at my worksite, no one said anything. We were paid by the week and the employer told us what to do. If we said anything, we could be fired on the spot. That’s why the scaffold law is so important. After my injury and the citations issued, my employer bought safety harnesses to give to the workers.” –Alejandro Alpirez

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Barrie Smith

“The Scaffold Safety Law is fair: If your construction site is unsafe, you are responsible for workers who suffer devastating injuries or even lose their lives because you did not follow the rules. Minority- and women-owned businesses are a very important part of New York’s construction industry, and they need and deserve support from our leaders in Albany. But sacrificing the safety of workers, especially minority workers, by gutting the Scaffold Safety Law should not be on the agenda.”
–Barrie Smith, President of 100 Black Construction Workers

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Francisco Moya

“This is an issue that is affecting construction workers of color—that is a fact. When you read about the accidents that happen, most of them are fatalities. A lot of them are immigrants. These workers come in here, they get hired, contractors don’t provide them with any safety training or the appropriate safety equipment, and we’ve seen it time and time again.”
–Assemblyman Francisco Moya (39th District-Queens)

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Gary La Barbera

“The bottom line is that if projects don’t have safety deficiencies on work at heights, those responsible for projects won’t have cases brought against them. The obvious answer is to improve safety and prevent accidents, but the campaign against the Scaffold Safety Law isn’t saying anything about this, which speaks volumes about what’s really going on.”
–Gary La Barbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York

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Bertha Lewis

“The Scaffold Safety Law creates a strong incentive for contractors and owners to do the right thing…Property owners and general contractors control the worksite and are in the best position to oversee safety. As a result, they are justifiably held responsible for providing all necessary equipment to workers on site.”
–Bertha Lewis, President of The Black Institute

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