A construction worker who was performing brick work is in critical condition after falling from the top of a scaffolding onto a sidewalk shed at a church in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Monday, April 9.
The worker, whose name has not yet been released, “fell from the roof of Trinity Grace Church on Ainslie St. around 2 p.m.,” according to authorities. He was subsequently rushed to Elmhurst Hospital in Queens. There are conflicting reports regarding just how far the worker fell-some outlets report two stories, others, four.
“He was in pretty rough shape,” said Josh B., who lives across the street from the church and did not opt to give the New York Daily News his full name. “It looked like he was bleeding from the mouth.”
Josh also said that he’d recently complained to 311 about the work site because “we’ve all been looking at this every day, [and] we just didn’t trust the conditions of it.”
Our best wishes go out to the victim and his family during this trying time.
Unfortunately, falls in the construction industry are very common and make up nearly half of all construction worker fatalities. Accordingly, inadequate fall protection is the most frequently issued citation in the construction industry.
Information about what safety violations may have been present at this jobsite should be revealed in the investigation of this incident. There are many different types of fall protection violations that can occur, such as:
- Failure to provide personal fall protection for work taking place at high elevations
- Improper installation or inspection of scaffolding
- Defective ladders that are either unstable or not tall enough to safely complete the job
- Lack of a safe way to access scaffolding or other elevated workplaces
- Failure to properly train workers on relevant fall hazards or how to use existing fall protection equipment
The OSHA requires employers to provide fall protection devices to workers whenever work is being performed at heights of 6 feet or greater. But this “6-foot rule” is not absolute. In some instances, when an employee is working in explicitly dangerous environments, such as near active heavy machinery or vats of chemicals, fall protection may be required even at heights under 6 feet.
Exactly which fall protection system is appropriate, however, will depend on the specific conditions of a given construction site. Employers need to carefully consider the hazards of jobs they assign and plan to install the proper fall protection systems accordingly. There are a few different types of fall protection systems, all of which have different strengths and weaknesses for workers operating at high elevations:
- Guardrail Systems are barriers put up to prevent workers from falling and must be capable of withstanding a force of at least 200 pounds
- Safety Net Systems catch falling workers and must be installed high enough so that someone who falls does not hit the ground below the net
- Personal Fall Arrest Systems are used to arrest the motion of a worker who has fallen and are made up of three parts: anchorage, connectors and a body harness
- Positioning Device Systems allow a worker to be supported on an elevated vertical surface, such as a wall, and work with both hands freely
- Fall Restraint Systems tether workers in a way that they will not be allowed to fall any distance whatsoever
Protecting employees from dangerous and potentially fatal falls is one of the primary responsibilities an employer has. If you have been injured in a fall at a construction site, we want to speak to you. Just call us at 212-736-5300 or fill out our online contact form to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about your case-free of charge.
The attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy have a long history of top results for victims of falls and other catastrophic injuries. In 2016, we were able to secure 3 of the top 5 Construction Accident Settlements in all of New York State and work hard every day to maintain that level of success.
Notable results for workers injured in construction accidents include:
- $12,000,000 settlement for a union worker who suffered fractures to both arms and legs after a 40-foot fall on a Manhattan construction site
- $7,400,000 settlement for a sheet metal worker who required spinal fusion surgery after falling while trying to remove an HVAC unit
- $7,300,000 settlement for a construction worker who suffered right arm and leg fractures after a fall that occurred during steel demolition
Visit our Construction Accident Verdicts & Settlements page to learn more.