Two construction workers were rescued in Harlem on Friday, Dec. 13 after the hydraulic lift they were operating tipped over without warning, crashing into the building where they were working. They had been almost 50 feet up in the air when the fully extended lift fell. They were left stranded, pinned against the side of the five-story building at 17 W. 118th St., with the risk of falling to the ground at any moment.
The FDNY heroically responded to the scene between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m., using an aerial ladder to save the two workers. The men, who are still unidentified, were taken to Harlem Hospital, sustaining non-life-threatening injuries, according to authorities. Work at the site has been halted while there is further investigation into the incident.
Luckily, the fire department was able to get to these men before they suffered any further injuries, or worse, fell from the lift to their deaths. Sadly, construction incidents like these are not uncommon, especially in a skyscraper-dominated city like New York. Many construction site falls often lead to debilitating injuries, the end of a worker’s career, or even, tragically, death. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2017 “the private construction industry sector had the highest number of workplace fatalities in New York City,” and that building construction specifically accounted for 55 percent of fatal construction injuries.
Further investigation into the lift and work site is necessary. The investigation will zero in on what prompted the lift to malfunction and what type of fall protection devices were made available to these workers. Not surprisingly, faulty equipment is a violation of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requirements. According to the OSHA Workers’ Rights Handbook, “it is the duty of employers to provide workplaces that are free of known dangers that could harm their employees,” and workers have a right to work on machines that are safe. Hazardous worksites and equipment only increase the risk of injury or death on construction sites; no person should have to work on a site where they feel they are being put in danger.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a construction accident, the lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy can help. We are skilled in construction accident law in New York and have handled numerous construction accident cases.
Select noteworthy results include:
- $11,000,000 settlement for a masonry foreman who fell three stories after stepping on an unsecured floor hole cover on a Brooklyn construction site
- $7,000,000 settlement for a carpenter who was hit in the face by a five-pound metal clamp while he was disabling scaffolding
- $5,900,000 settlement for a bricklayer who suffered various injuries when he fell off a ladder, at a construction site in which no lifelines, safety harnesses or nets were provided
- $5,030,572 recovery for a construction worker who sustained two herniated discs, among other injuries, after the scaffold he was working on tipped over
- $4,650,000 settlement for a worker who fell from a shelf at a Queens construction site after insufficient equipment was provided