Workers Rescued in Manhattan Scaffolding Collapse

FDNY was involved in a heroic rescue on the Upper West Side after two workers – a man and a woman – got trapped on a window ledge when their scaffolding collapsed 10 stories up. According to a CBS New York report, when the workers’ rigging gave way, the two workers had nowhere else to go except the narrow ledge of a window where they waited for members of the FDNY to help lift them inside.

Daring and Dramatic Rescue

The scaffolding was dangling at a near-90 degree angle while two workers balanced on windowsills clutching their harnesses. They were hanging on to the window ledge, a witness said. Firefighters were called to West 78th Street off Broadway where they say the scaffolding partially collapsed while the man and woman were doing facade work on a residential building.

Firefighters were able to break one of the windows and get one of the workers into the building. But the second worker was still trapped on the ledge. So, firefighters went up to the roof, threw a rope down the side of the building to lower one of their members over the edge. The worker was dangling and extremely nervous, but the firefighter was able to calm the worker and help him climb through the top of the window.

Both workers were later seen walking to the back of an ambulance. They were reportedly treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a local hospital. This was FDNY’s second high-angle rescue in two weeks. On Sept. 1, firefighters in Harlem used a rope rescue to save a woman from the 16th floor of a burning building.

What Causes a Scaffolding Collapse?

A large number of construction workers such as ironworkers, steelworkers, carpenters, masons, laborers or electricians work from an elevation or height by using scaffolds, platforms, ladders etc. Scaffolds can vary significantly in their assembly and durability depending on their purpose. They tend to be temporary structures that are built by construction companies for specific purposes. However, when scaffolds are built without proper planning and care, they may not only put workers, but also bystanders and pedestrians at a significant risk of injury. Here are some of the most common causes of a scaffolding collapse:

• Poor or shoddy construction.
• Scaffolding built with substandard parts or materials.
• Scaffolding platforms that are overloaded.
• Lack of proper maintenance and inspection of the scaffolding.
• Noncompliance with standards set forth by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for scaffolding safety.

Rights of Workers

Workers in New York are protected by New York’s Scaffolding Law (Section 240 of the New York Labor Code), which 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 have the ability to bring civil actions against the general contractor and property owner 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, they may be able to file a third-party claim for substantial money damages and thus have two sources of compensation. Such claims are filed against parties other than the employers or co-workers including, but not limited to, general contractors, sub-contractors, building owners, 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 who may be held liable for the fatal incident.

Contacting an Experienced Lawyer

If you have suffered injuries in 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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