Scaffold Collapse at New York City High-Rise Building

FDNY crews rescued two window washers in Lower Manhattan after a scaffolding collapse left them stranded at more than 200 feet up in the air. According to an NBC New York news report, FDNY teams responded to the incident that occurred at the 26th floor of a Brookfield Place building off Vesey Street. Crews had to lower safety lines to the trapped workers who were left hanging on to the broken scaffold.

Dangerous Scaffolding

First responders then made sure to the check the rigging on the scaffold and ensure it wouldn’t move further. Fire crews had to cut open a glass window to bring the workers inside the building and off the dangling scaffold. Both trapped workers were rescued and brought safely into the building within an hour.

This is the second time in recent weeks that FDNY has rescued workers after scaffolds collapsed at high-rise buildings. Last month, FDNY was involved in another rescue in the Upper West Side after two workers got trapped on a window ledge when their scaffolding collapsed 10 stories up. When the workers’ rigging gave way, they had nowhere else to go except the narrow ledge of the window where they waited to be rescued. In that incident, the man and woman were doing facade work on a residential building on West 78th Street off Broadway when the scaffolding they were working on gave way.

Construction Work at Elevations

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. General construction companies, managing agents, building owners, some contractors and sub-contractors have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their crew and workers.

While scaffolds can be different in terms of how durable they are, they often tend to be structures that are built by construction companies for specific purposes. When scaffolds are not built with proper plans and care, they may put workers as well as pedestrians and bystanders in significant danger of suffering serious injuries.

Scaffolding collapses commonly occur because they are built with low-quality parts or materials, or because they are not properly constructed. Overloading scaffolding platforms and not maintaining/inspecting them routinely can also lead to such a collapse. Scaffolds built in New York City must conform to standards set forth by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for scaffolding safety. Scaffolding collapses have the potential to result in catastrophic injuries if not fatalities. Workers may suffer injuries so serious that they may not be able to work for a long period of time, or may not even be able to return to work or earn a livelihood.

What the Law Says

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 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.

Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:

1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES

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