An elevator mechanic working for the NYC Housing Authority died from a fatal shock while working in the elevator machine room at the Coney Island Houses yesterday. This incident happened on that same day that NYCHA announced "immediate and long-term corrective actions," following a series of elevator incidents that included one death.
NYCHA worker Igor Begun, 54 was working in the machine room on the Brooklyn housing complex's, yesterday morning when he was electrocuted. He was found unconscious by a colleague who had been working on preventative maintenance on the elevator in the lobby.
NYCHA CEO & Chair Shola Olatoye said, "Our hearts go out to the family of Igor Begun... As we await the Medical Examiner's findings on the cause of this tragedy, we offer our condolences on behalf of the NYCHA community."
Michael Halpin, organizer for Local 1 IUEC, said, "Once again we’re called to mourn an individual whose life ended in an incident with a New York elevator. As our hearts go out to Igor Begun’s family and friends, we must commit to preventing these deaths. Right now, the people working on the elevators in our apartment buildings, workplaces, hospitals, and schools are often untrained and unlicensed. Contractors and authorities get to decide whether or not they are going to responsibly train their elevator workers, or if they are going to be irresponsible. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia have taken away that choice. In those states, contractors and authorities must responsibly train mechanics and those mechanics must carry a license. It is the law. We must do the same. We need the Elevator Safety Act to keep New York’s elevator workers and riders safe."
Halpin also noted that the head of the NYCHA elevator division was fired that morning.
Last December, an 81-year-old tenant at the Boston Road Houses in the Bronx slipped and cracked his skull after tripping on an elevator that wasn't level with the floor. That tenant died of his injuries. A few weeks earlier, another Bronx NYCHA resident at the Morris Houses got his foot trapped in an elevator "for over an hour"; the resident's leg was fractured.
NYCHA vowed to improve its elevator safety, promising new brake monitor protocols; more ways to classify elevator problems; and escalating elevator issues to 911 and the FDNY. The agency also said it would improve communications between 911/first responders and NYCHA as well as making sure complaints regarding elevators were shared across staff.