Fire department crews rescued two workers who were stuck in malfunctioning scaffolding on the 46th floor of a building in TriBeCa. According to a CBS New York news report, the incident occurred the morning of May 11 on Murray Street near West Street. The building where the victims were working was 62 stories tall. Footage released by NYPD shows the scaffolding perpendicular to the building jammed through a window on the 46th floor.
Scaffold Not Properly Secured
Emergency responders initially received calls about scaffolding “spinning at the building,” which is under construction. The rescued men worked for a window glazing company and were doing inspections when they got stuck. As they lowered down the side of the building, the wind caught the scaffolding, spinning it around about four times, officials said. Each time it banged into one of the windows, it broke glass. Members of an FDNY squad stood on the top rail of the scaffold and pulled the workers through the window.
FDNY and EMS workers inside the building were able to rotate the scaffolding so it stood parallel to the building, enabling the rescue. The scaffold broke several windows sending glass to the street below as far as a block away. One passerby was injured, but not seriously, officials said. Fire officials said winds were gusting between 40 and 50 mph at the time of the incident. Officials also said the scaffold was not properly secured when the incident occurred and that violations would likely be issued at the conclusion of the investigation. It is not clear if the rescued workers suffered any injuries.
Scaffolds and Construction Sites
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 65 percent of construction workers and laborers work on scaffolds. A scaffold is essentially an elevated, temporary work platform. There are two basic types of scaffolds. A supported scaffold consists of one or more platforms supported by rigid, load-bearing structures such as poles, legs, frames and outriggers. Suspended scaffolds are one or more platforms that are suspended by ropes or other types of non-rigid overhead support.
Some of the common hazards associated with scaffolds include:
• Falls from elevation due to lack of fall protection.
• Collapse of the scaffold, caused by instability or overloading.
• Being struck by falling tools, work materials, or debris.
• Electrocution, due to the proximity of the scaffold to overhead power lines.
Importance of Worker Safety
In this particular case, the article states that the scaffold may not have been properly secured. In addition, the workers were operating while winds were gusting at 45 mph or so. Construction companies, building owners, contractors and other parties have a responsibility to ensure that the conditions are safe before workers are allowed to work on scaffolding. The first step is to make sure that the scaffolding itself is stable and secure. The scaffolding must be routinely inspected and evaluated for defects and the potential for malfunctioning. In addition, supervisors who are overseeing operations must also make the call with regard to when it is safe for workers to work on scaffolds. For example, when winds are gusting at high speeds, it might be safer for workers to wait until the winds die down before getting on scaffolding.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
Workers who are injured in scaffolding accidents may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits, which typically cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. In addition, workers may be able to file a third-party lawsuit for substantial money damages against a number of parties, and therefore have two ways to recover money.
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. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income and benefits, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitative treatment, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.
If you have suffered injuries in a scaffolding 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.
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 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
Please visit us at: www.WORK4YOULAW.com
If you found this article useful, please share it!