Four New York City construction workers avoided a deadly fall thanks to a quick response by New York’s Bravest and properly working safety harnesses. It all happened on Upper West Side on Saturday, January 30, 2016. According to officials, the workers were on a six-story building located at 44 Seaman Ave. in the Inwood section of Manhattan at 11:45 a.m. when the main cable to their scaffolding snapped.
FDNY responded within a few minutes of the call and were able to save the day. The workers dangled from their safety harnesses for approximately ten minutes before they were saved. FDNY Lt. Bill Caffrey of Ladder Company 36 described the dramatic rescue of the men as they hung from above. Firefighters removed a worker with an aerial ladder, helped two through the windows from the inside of the building, and the fourth worker was brought up to the roof using a rope. The FDNY then tied off the scaffolding to secure it.
While the workers were lucky that they did not encounter a tragic fate, they did not escape injury altogether. They were each removed to New York Presbyterian Hospital. Two were listed in serious condition, one with head injuries, authorities said. The other two men were treated for minor injuries.
With an investigation still ongoing, it is unclear at the present time how the scaffold’s cable came to malfunction. The investigation will involve inspectors from the Department of Buildings of New York City (D.O.B.) and O.S.H.A. The findings are certain to be revealing. Those responsible for safety at the site should be applauded for providing their workers with safety harnesses. But, they shouldn’t be too quick to take any bows since the harnesses were needed only after the scaffold these workers were required to use came to pieces while in use.
Such an incident once again highlights the need for providing proper safety equipment to prevent scaffolding injuries and deaths among those who work at extremely elevated heights. The inherent risks associated with working at such heights is self-evident, as should the necessity that such workers are provided with the necessary equipment. With New York City in the midst of a construction boom, the work goes on, even on a Saturday in the middle of winter.
Block O’Toole & Murphy is a law firm that has built a reputation of fighting on behalf of serious accident victims, particularly victims of construction accidents. The firm has amassed nearly $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for their clients and we fight to preserve and expand the laws that exist to protect New York construction workers. You can learn more about the firm by reviewing their website or contacting them now for free consultation at 212-736-5300.