Two construction workers were injured on the afternoon of Monday, March 9, due to a partial building collapse. The workers had been demolishing a church in East Harlem near Madison Avenue and East 126th Street. All of a sudden, part of a wall from the three-story building collapsed, falling onto the scaffold below and injuring two workers.
According to reports, the workers’ injuries are minor; one suffered a broken leg and the other injured his back. The work site is now under investigation by the Department of Buildings. We hope for a speedy recovery for the two men.
Although it is unclear exactly why the building collapsed, we know that construction accidents like these, especially scaffolding accidents, are all too common. According to the Scaffolding page on OSHA’s website, approximately 65 percent of the construction industry–2.3 million workers–work on scaffolds. OSHA also cites a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics study, which states that 72 percent of workers injured in scaffolding accidents are injured as a result of the scaffold’s planking or support giving way, or because they are struck by a falling object.
When working on scaffolding, the utmost caution must be taken to keep workers safe. This is because there are many risks surrounding scaffolding: debris can fall from above onto unprotected scaffolding and workers below, scaffolding can collapse while workers are standing on it, or workers can fall from unsteady scaffolding, to name just a few. Clearly, scaffolding provides a great risk to workers, but only when it is not properly set up and utilized. There are solutions workers and site managers can implement to address potential hazards and ensure that their work site remains safe. Some of these include:
- Scaffolds should be erected on solid footing and must be equipped with guardrails
- Scaffold platforms must be tightly planked and floor holes must be covered
- Safety net systems should be in place
- Each scaffold should be able to carry its own weight plus four times the maximum intended loadScaffolds should be consistently inspected by a “competent person”
We at Block O’Toole & Murphy believe that no construction worker should have to fear injury or death at their workplace. If you or someone you know has been injured in a construction accident, let the construction accident attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy help you. You may be entitled to legal compensation for your injuries if the accident was caused by another party’s negligence.
We have extensive experience litigating construction accident cases. Select results include:
- $110,174,972.38 verdict for a young cyclist who was paralyzed from the waist down after he was struck by a falling railroad tie
- $7,000,000 settlement for a 25-year-old carpenter who was dismantling scaffolding when he was hit in the face with a five-pound metal clamp
- $3,000,000 settlement for a non-union electrician’s helper who sustained various injuries after he fell due to a scaffold collapse
- $1,950,000 settlement for a 59-year-old union carpenter who was struck by a falling object and fell off unguarded scaffolding