A scaffold collapsed at 30 Hudson Yards the morning of Nov. 14 causing two window washers to fall down and suffer injuries. According to a report in the Commercial Observer, first responders who arrived at the scene found a scaffolding with two window washers on it that had dropped 20 feet to a lower level and was lodged on the roof of the 35th floor of the building.
Workers Suffer Injuries
Rescuers were not able to reach the window washers right away because of the height of the building. The firefighters then decided to cut a hole in the window on the 37th floor and proceed with the rescue. Both window washers were transported to a local hospital. One suffered serious injuries but was in stable condition. The other sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Commercial Observer notes that this is not the first injury or safety concern over this Far West Side mega-project. On Nov. 11, 2019, almost exactly a year ago, a scaffold collapsed at 50 Hudson Yards seriously injuring two construction workers. According to a report from the Commercial Observer last year, there have been nearly 150 personal injury lawsuits against the developer or various limited liability companies tied to the company and its contractors.
Common Causes of Scaffolding Collapse
Many construction workers in New York City such as ironworkers, steelworkers, carpenters, masons, bricklayers, painters, window washers, and electricians etc. tend to work from an elevation by using scaffolds, platforms, ladders etc. Scaffolding collapses have the potential to cause major injuries or fatalities. Here are some of the most common causes for such collapses and related injuries:
Inadequate construction: Scaffolds used at construction sites must be constructed with care and with quality materials. Its construction should be overseen by a professional who should ensure that the scaffolding complies with standards set forth by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). When a scaffold is built with substandard materials, or in such a way that it is unable to withstand the weight of the workers, it may cave in or collapse. Weak planking, failures at attachment points, parts failure and defective equipment are all frequently cited as causes for scaffolding collapses.
Lack of fall protection: Companies are also required to provide workers with fall protection devices such as harnesses, safety nets and guardrails. OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of 4 feet in general industry workplaces, 5 feet in shipyards, 6 feet in the construction industry and eight feet in longshoring operations. In addition, OSHA requires that fall protection be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance.
Weather: Supervisors at a construction project have the responsibility to keep track of weather conditions such as high winds, which may cause scaffolds to collapse and lead to serious injuries and fatalities. Work should be suspended or stopped when dangerous conditions pose such hazards to workers on scaffolds.
Lack of proper training: A majority of New York City’s construction force consists of immigrant workers. When these individuals are not provided proper training in their own language, they are unlikely to properly understand safety procedures and protocols. It is the duty of construction companies, owners, managers and contractors to ensure that all workers are properly trained.
New York Law Relating to Scaffolding Safety
New York’s Scaffolding Law (Section 240 of the New York Labor Code), requires contractors, owners and their agents to be responsible for providing necessary equipment such as scaffolds, ladders, hoists, stays, irons, ropes, blocks braces and other devices to keep workers safe from fall-related accidents. Under this section of the labor code, workers injured in scaffolding accidents can bring civil actions against the contractor and property owner, manager etc. responsible for the safety of the jobsite.
Workers who have been injured in a scaffolding accident can seek workers’ compensation benefits from their employer. In addition, workers and their families may be able to file a third-party lawsuit for substantial money damages against a number of parties, and thus have two sources of compensation. Third-party claims are filed against parties other than the employer or co-employees and may include general contractors, sub-contractors, building owners, managing agents, construction companies, etc. In cases where a worker dies from injuries suffered on the job, surviving family members may seek death benefits through workers’ compensation and/or file a wrongful death claim against a third party.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you have suffered injuries in a scaffolding collapse or a construction-related accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
Our law firm recovered $3,375,576 for a construction worker (an undocumented immigrant) who was injured on the job – one of the highest construction case settlements in New York that year. Our law firm also recovered $3,000,000 for a man who fell and suffered two broken legs when he walked into an open elevator shaft. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
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