Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Brooklyn Tree Victim Dies

Police load the mangled bike into the truck of a patrol car on Monday night.  (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.


By Geoffrey Croft

The beloved Chinese food delivery man struck by a tree on Monday night has died as a result his injuries.

The Parks Department contractor ignored basic safety protocols while pruning the tree NYC Park Advocates has learned.

Jin Liu, 50, was riding through Coffey Park making a delivery when a large London Plane tree suddenly came crashing down.

Standard safety protocols dictate maintaining a safe work zone with cones, caution tape and a worker on the ground to flag approaching pedestrians.

A 360˚ drop zone perimeter needs to be established and protected which is generally 1 1/2 to 2 times the height of the tree. The contractor failed secure the drop zone.

Witnesses including Park workers said the private company,  RML Construction, the contractor hired by the Parks Department had not cordoned off the area when he rode through.

"A big mistake, a big mistake,"a Parks supervisor said at the scene confirming that the area was not taped off.

The job was staffed by only a two-person crew - a pruner and a flagman.

RML was doing tree work damaged by Hurricane Sandy, more than three years after the storm.

It is well known that Parks Forestry division contracts tree trimming workers that are NOT certified arborists.   It is not known at this time whether or not the workers were certified arborists.

An NYPD investigator takes photographs of the crushed bike. The deadly tree is on the right.

The victim was rushed to Methodist Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition since the incident. 

The incident happened in the park near the intersection of Pioneer Street and Richards Street. 

Mr. Liu worked at Ling Gee restaurant a block away from the incident.

"It is irresponsible for the agency to have allowed laborers untrained in the practices of arboriculture (or tree care) to fell an overly large street tree across the public right of way," said Dr. Carsten Glaeser, a Queens-based Consulting Arborist and independent urban tree expert.

"Maintaining a high standard of safety during tree care work well known to the most qualified arborists is key to delivering the level of care expected by the public, although not seen here.  That is called due-diligence.  The delivery of a lessor standard can only result in an increase likelihood of harm and injury to either the tree workers or the general public.  Clearly critical public safety measures were viewed as trivial, and now with an unfortunate human consequence."

The pruner (left) and the flagman (right) from RML Construction, a private company contracted by the Parks Department, at the deadly scene on Monday night speaking with NYPD investigator from Highway.

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