A pedestrian walking in Tribeca was struck by a piece of falling scaffolding on the afternoon of Friday, April 13, in the first of two scaffolding accidents that occurred over the weekend.
It’s being reported that the “piece of scaffolding fell off an office high-rise building at 101 Barclay Street” and hit the victim, who was walking on the sidewalk. The person suffered a non-life threatening injury and was taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment.
The 25-story office building, which is owned by Bank of New York Mellon, has been the site of ongoing construction. After the accident occurred, the site was briefly closed off until it could be confirmed that no danger was imminent for additional passersby.
The Department of Buildings soon had investigators on the scene, and it was determined that “the incident was caused by window cleaners,” though specifics beyond that have not yet been released.
Accidents such as these have become too common in New York City, which is in the middle of an unprecedented construction boon that will see construction spending in the city “reach a staggering $147.9 billion by the end of 2019.”
The upshot of this rise in construction is that the city is becoming more and more cluttered with scaffolding and sidewalk sheds. Reports indicate that there are more than 7,700 sidewalk sheds and “280 miles of scaffolding” spread among the city, the oldest of which is at 100 Lenox Avenue, where the scaffolding has been up for a staggering 17 years.
To combat this, City Councilman Ben Kallos introduced a bill in late 2017 that would “require scaffolding to be taken down within six months of it having gone up,” hoping to bring a sense of urgency to construction projects that might otherwise have a tendency to drag on.
The importance of taking down scaffolding in a timely manner is critical in light of reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that, nationwide, “scaffolds contribute to more than 60 deaths and 4,500 injuries every year.” On top of this, about 15% of all fatal falls in construction are from scaffolding, clearly illustrating the danger that scaffolding and sidewalk sheds can present.
We saw this again on Saturday, just one day after the pedestrian in Tribeca was injured, when scaffold beams came crashing down in Brooklyn Heights and injured two pedestrians and a construction worker. Two of the victims in this incident were taken to New York Methodist Hospital to receive treatment.
This second scaffolding accident occurred outside of a Starbucks located near the intersection of Court and Joralemon Street at around 10:30 a.m. Though the New York City Emergency Management Department is still investigating, early reports are that the scaffolding may have fallen while construction workers were trying to disassemble it.
Our best wishes go out to the four victims of these scaffolding incidents.
The OSHA mandates that all employees who work on or with scaffolding must receive training that covers “the nature of the hazards, the correct procedures for erecting, disassembling, moving, operating, repairing, inspecting and [maintaining] the type of scaffold in use.”
Unfortunately, even in the most optimal circumstances, accidents can still happen. You will want an experienced personal injury attorney at your side to guide you through the aftermath of potentially debilitating injuries if you or a loved one is a victim in a construction accident.
At Block O’Toole & Murphy, our attorneys are renowned for their successful work in the field of catastrophic injury resulting from construction accidents and negligence. In particular, we have secured millions of dollars for people injured in falling object accidents, including:
- $7,300,000 settlement for a construction worker who suffered multiple fractures to his face, right arm and right leg while performing steel demolition in Brooklyn.
- $7,000,000 settlement for a carpenter who was hit in the face by a falling object while dismantling scaffolding in Astoria, Queens.
- $3,750,000 settlement for a worker who suffered a fractured left leg when a 30 foot long steel beam fell and struck him at a five story building in the Bronx.