By Trevor Kapp and Amy Zimmer
MANHATTAN — A construction worker was seriously injured when a slab of concrete or roadway fell on him at a Second Avenue Subway construction site on the Upper East Side Monday afternoon, fire and MTA officials said.
And last month, the federal Occupational Health & Safety Administration issued $8,500 in fines for "serious" violations to another contractor — a joint venture of Schiavone, Shea and Kiewit — for a worker's respirator not being properly fitted for exposure to dangerous levels of silica.
OSHA responded to Monday's accident and opened an inspection, a spokesman for the federal watchdog said.
The worker in Monday's incident — employed by Skanska, one of the MTA's contractors for the Second Avenue project — was in a utility trench on East 86th Street and Second Avenue just after 12:45 p.m. when he was "hit by a piece of roadway pavement or concrete when it was being moved by equipment," an MTA spokesman said.
He was rushed to New York Hospital with back and leg injuries in serious but stable condition, FDNY officials said and MTA officials said he may have suffered a broken bone.
"He was screaming, 'Help, help!,'" said Abdoulie Ceesay, 47, who works at a Food Emporium near the site. ''They took the concrete from off his legs and started putting water on his head. His face looked red.''
Another Food Emporium employee, Joyce Alexander, 42, heard the worker's screams for help.
"I never heard anything that loud. I thought maybe he broke his back," she said. "They responded to him real quick. They talked to him, tried to keep him calm.''
A spokeswoman from Skanksa said the worker's injuries were "not life-threatening."
"We don’t know the specific extent of his injuries as of yet, but he is receiving treatment and we should know more soon," she said. "We’re thankful to New York City’s first responders and the workers on site for their quick action."
The site is a major construction zone for the Second Avenue Subway, where the East 86th Street station is being built. Blasting began this month for this part of the $4.45 billion first phase of the project, which will extend the Q line from East 63rd up to East 96th street, is expected to be completed by December 2016.
Residents have been unhappy with the construction's impacts on the Upper East Side.
"It's too noisy, and it's taking too long," said Erwin Baker, 79, who lives on 87th Street and Second Avenue. ''We're trying to sell our apartment, but people are afraid to buy it because of the air quality.''
The MTA conducted an independent study, which found the air quality was safe.