WILLIAMSBURG — A construction worker just shy of retirement after more than two decades on the job died in a two-story fall from scaffolding at the Domino Sugar Factory development Friday morning, according to officials and the man's brother.
Wilfredo Enriquez, 59, fell from the work elevator at the sixth floor of 325 Kent Ave., which is slated to become an 16-story apartment building with 104 affordable housing units, and landed on a fourth floor ledge about 8 a.m., according to an FDNY spokesman and the owner of the company he worked for.
Enriquez was wearing a harness but not "tied off," or clipped into a hook that prevents workers from falling, Department of Buildings officials said.
"He was really messed up. He had blood all over the side of his face," said Juan Herrera, 24, a worker on the site.
Other workers said the man, who was installing facade for subcontractors at the site for PG Products of New York, severely injured his head.
His brother Galo Enriquez, 53, said he got a frantic call from the hospital and rushed there from his New Jersey home.
“I expected the worse, the danger there are [at his job], oh lord," Enriquez said choking back sobs. “He was a very responsible person, he didn’t have a single vice, was very hardworking.”
The brothers moved to the states from Ecuador around 30 years ago, Galo said in Spanish. Wilfredo worked construction jobs for almost that entire time, he said, and was getting his affairs in order to retire soon.
"I'm really upset. Right now our condolences go out to his family. It's a terrible tragedy," he said, declining to comment further. "We are fully cooperating with Two Trees and the DOB to understand how this tragedy occurred."
Joshua Berkman, a spokesman developer, Two Trees extended similar condolences and said that all work at the site had stopped while the city conducted their investigation.
In July, another worker fell down a staircase at the site and suffered head and shoulder injuries, according to the DOB website.
Union advocates have been pushing unsuccessfully for union jobs at the Domino Sugar development, which so far hasn't budged, according to union representatives and workers at the site.
Enriquez' death Friday was the thirteenth construction related death this year, according to James Lally, a spokesman for OSHA. Eleven of the 13 were at non union sites, according to OSHA. In 2015, of the 18 construction worker fatalities in New York City, 83 percent occurred on non-union sites, according to their annual report.
"The evidence is overwhelmingly clear that non-union work sites are extremely dangerous for workers and the public alike," said Gary LaBarbera, head of the Building and Construction Trades Council. "Construction workers lives do matter and we can no longer tolerate irresponsible developers and contractors putting profits ahead of safety. This must end now.”