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3 Construction Workers Injured in Williamsburg Scaffold Collapse

At around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, a scaffolding collapse occurred at a Brooklyn construction site, injuring three workers. The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) is investigating to determine if strong winds are a contributing factor for the incident.

A large section of scaffolding at a construction site on Grand Street in Williamsburg was ripped from the side of the 6-story building and fell onto the roof of the neighboring building. At the time, winds reached speeds of 25 mph, leading investigators to believe that strong winds may be a cause of this accident. There are currently no tenants at the six-story building.

The New York Post reports that the three workers were working on "adjusting and dismantling sections of the scaffold" on the roof of the building when the scaffolding collapsed. All three workers were transported to Bellevue Hospital by emergency services and are, luckily, all expected to survive. The site was working to convert a three-story structure into a six-story apartment building, according to DOB.

FDNY Deputy Chief James McNally explained to reporters that the incident could have had graver consequences, saying "...none of the debris came out to the street, and we're very lucky that the three workers that were at the time on the site [sustained] minor injuries, so we had three minor injuries and everyone else has been accounted for."

Fire officials say this event serves as a reminder to all, especially construction workers, to stop work when winds pick up. Investigators inspected the site to ensure that it was safe for workers to return to work after winds died down. No citations were issued.

A video shared to Citizen captures the scene as police and firefighters responded to the call. Firefighters are seen using ladder trucks to travel to the top of the building where a separate video shows images of the debris covering the rooftop.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) puts forward general safety requirements that must be followed when using scaffolding on construction sites in New York City. OSHA requires a "competent person" to inspect the site and make decisions on safety protocol for all workers. A competent person is defined as "one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions...and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them."

In regard to scaffold use, a competent person must "determine if it is safe for employees to work on or from a scaffold during storms or high winds." Adherence to safety precautions like these is crucial as workers take risks on dangerous construction sites.

A component of the post-accident investigation will focus on whether there was an appropriate inquiry about whether work should have continued at the site in the face of the fierce and formidable winds. Was this an unforeseen force of nature or did the safety supervisors at the site knowingly gamble with the lives of these workers and others? Time will tell.

The attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy have a proven track record of helping those who have suffered losses due to another party's negligence obtain the compensation they are legally entitled to. Our results include a $3,000,000 settlement for a non-union electrician's helper who was injured in a ladder and scaffold collapse in the Bronx.

If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in an accident, contact the lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy for a free legal consultation by calling 212-736-5300 or filling out our online contact form.

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