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Worker Collapsed in Hard-to-Reach Spot in West Village Building

At approximately 9 a.m. on Monday August 14th, a construction worker passed out on the upper floors of 348 W. 14th Street, as reported by the New York Daily News. the man collapsed at a hard-to-reach location within the building, where firefighters later used an FDNY tower ladder to rescue him. 

Soon afterwards, he was taken to Bellevue Hospital. 

Whether the building was undergoing renovation at the time, was facing issues that needed repair, or had other aspects that require firefighters to proceed with caution, the state of the building was concerning enough for firefighters to use a tower ladder.

"Due to the condition of the building and the experience level of the firefighters involved, the patient was removed via tower ladder," FDNY Battalion Chief Rich Wylie stated.

Located in Manhattan's West Village neighborhood, 348 W. 14th Street is a four-story building that rents out office space and one apartment. It wasn't clear what work the laborer was performing when he collapsed.

We are pleased to hear that the worker was safely rescued and recovering from his injuries. Unfortunately, this incident further illustrates another potential danger that construction workers face day-to-day on the job.

Fainting, also known as syncope, happens when there is reduced circulation to the brain which causes the person to lose consciousness. Most people who collapse on the job hit the floor. For construction workers, however, the consequences of losing consciousness on the job can be catastrophic.

On construction sites, laborers commonly work on scaffolds, roofs, ladders, and other places where a fall to the ground can cause head trauma, broken bones, paralysis, and other serious injuries. Workers operate machinery such as cranes and forklifts that require alertness at all times. They also work in potentially precarious environments like trenches. All of these situations can be fatal if workers suffer dizziness and pass out on the job.

Additionally, some causes of synocope are work-related, including: 

  • Working in extreme heat: Data from the CPWR shows that 17 construction workers died as a result of heat-related work conditions in 2015, as reported by Safety and Health Magazine
  • Being exposed to vapors or toxic gases: Common gases used in the construction industry include carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia, and chlorine. In an unfortunate case in Florida earlier this year, 3 construction workers died from inhaling poisonous fumes in a manhole. This incident and others highlight the necessity for worker protection from toxic gases. 
  • Working in confined spaces which are oxygen-deficient: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) listed requirements for laborers entering and working in confined spaces. Among the requirements is atmospheric monitoring. Not following these guidelines can lead to serious worker injuries or even death by asphyxiation. In the past, some construction laborers have passed out and died from lack of oxygen on construction work sites in the United States. 

Because of the nature of the work, the construction sector sees more serious and fatal injuries than other sectors in the US. In New York City, for example, the construction sector employers 3% of the city's workforce but make up 34% of occupational deaths from 2011 to 2015. 

The statistics highlight the importance for employers to adhere strictly to OSHA guidelines. It is literally a matter of life and death. 

To learn more about construction-related accidents and prevention, visit our Types of Construction Accidents page. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a construction accident, simply call 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form to speak with a qualified injury lawyer. 

The NYC construction accident attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy have a track record of recovering compensation for injured workers, including 3 of the Top 5 Construction Settlements in New York State in 2016

Visit our Construction Accidents Verdicts & Settlements page to learn more about our results.