On-the-job injuries are not unusual for our New York transit workers. It's been estimated that 239 subway workers have been killed on the job in New York since 1947, including two workers who were killed in the span of one week in 2007. These work-related deaths are often due to train accidents when tracks are being repaired, inspected, or maintained as well as to electrical accidents and other incidents involving machinery. Injuries and deaths resulting from workplace violence, however, are some of the most tragic and underreported in the transit industry.
For example, a token clerk was recently involved in an incident in which two people set fire to her booth in the hopes of getting away with the money inside. The clerk was thankfully able to put out the fire without opening the door, but many in the past have not been so lucky. Multiple token clerks have been killed in booth arson, such as Harry Kaufman, who left behind a wife and teenage son in 1995. The booth where he worked was set on fire in a robbery attempt. Kaufman survived with burns covering about 80% of his body, but he died two weeks later from the injuries.
Beyond the workplace accidents and booth burnings, many transit workers also carry emotional scars. Many passengers are killed by falling or jumping in front of trains, and subway workers often witness these tragic events.
The New York workers' compensation lawyers with Markhoff & Mittman know that workplace accidents that result in injuries can happen when you least expect, often with tragic results. Our hearts go out to such workers and their families.