Update: City contractor responsible for death of delivery man
The city contractor that was hired to remove and replace numerous trees as a part of a Hurricane Sandy restoration project has violated terms of their contract and thus became responsible for the death of a delivery man. “City contract rules required the firm, Carlstadt, N.J.-based RML Construction, to use four-person crews, including a foreman. But in this instance, the company used just two men. In addition, the area was not properly secured with cones and tape, as the city also requires, and there was no Parks Department oversight. And there are questions about whether that particular crew was properly trained. RML did not even specialize in tree removal, and instead touted itself as a highway and street construction firm.”
Questions have come out if the crew that worked on the project was trained properly or not. It has even come out that the crew was a highway and street construction team, and not a team that is specialized in tree removal. According to a firm that specializes in tree removal, one needs at least four people working on said project in order to maintain a safe environment for the workers as well as people in the immediate area.
“The incident exposes flaws and raises questions about the Park Department’s management of the $28 million Sandy recovery program, which involves the assessment of thousands of damaged trees. In response, the city Parks Department has suspended all contracts held by the firm pending its investigation, but defended the hiring of the firm. “RML met all qualifications for the solicitation and contract for this project,” Parks spokeswoman Crystal Howard said.”
“This man’s death was entirely preventable,” said Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates. Regarding the tree unit, he said, “It’s a culture of neglect. It’s like the Wild, Wild West.” Even though the works do not need certification, they must have some type of documentation that illustrates that they have been trained for said work.
“In fairness to the crew, a police source said Liu may have been on a bicycle with an electric motor, and may have ignored the flag man and just ridden around him at the critical moment. Indeed, says Gerstenberger, it is common for tree crews to experience pedestrians and vehicles simply ignoring their warnings. “It’s a very hazardous situation and a very fluid situation, but the public often seems oblivious,” he said.”