Friday, October 14, 2011

Construction Worker Electrocuted; Plummets To Death Inside NYC Church

A construction worker, who plunged 12 stories to his death while installing a safety net under the ceiling of an upper West Side church on Thursday, was electrocuted according to investigators. The worker was not wearing a safety harness.

Janusz Zdybel, who lived in Greenpoint with his wife, crashed into the center aisle of the historic Church of St. Paul the Apostle on West 60th St. just off Columbus Circle about 9:30 a.m. on Thursday morning.

Investigators from the FDNY and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have determined that the worker, who was using an electric drill to install a safety net on a sub ceiling in the arch of the 126-year-old Catholic church, lost his footing on a metal ladder when both he and his 23-year-old assistant holding the ladder were shocked.

The drill had been plugged into an ungrounded outlet.

Father Gilbert Martinez, pastor of the parish, performed last rites on the body.

Mr. Zdybel, who was employed by West New York Construction & Remodeling Services, had been working on the restoration project at the church for the past two years.

OSHA fined the contractor for violations of safety standards, lack of safety harness, failure to provide ground-fault circuit interrupters for personnel protection, exposing employees to the risk of electric shock, and unsafe work practices.

Officials stated that, "this was a tragic accident that should have been avoided."

By Peter Coyne

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