A normal day at work was transformed into a life-or-death experience when two workers were left dangling from broken scaffolding at an office building in Lower Manhattan. The incident occurred at approximately 9:00 a.m. on Monday, October 5, 2020, at 250 Vesey St.
As the scaffold hung at a terrifying sharp downward angle, the two men were left clinging for their lives for 40 minutes. The FDNY arrived on the scene and performed the necessary rescue procedures. Fortunately, they were able to bring both workers to safety; the two men were strapped into safety harnesses and hauled in through a window at the upper levels of the building. FDNY Deputy Chief Michael Ajello said, “We operated for approximately 40 minutes, we loaded safety lines to those two trapped workers, secured them, and we provided communication links with them.” Both men refused medical attention at the scene.
Officials are investigating the cause of the accident and why this particular scaffold collapsed. It is lucky that these two workers escaped with their lives. We are glad to hear that these two workers came away from this harrowing incident safely, and wish them continued health.
Regardless of why the accident happened, a broken scaffold is unacceptable. Workers need to use scaffolds frequently, especially in New York City, to carry out their job duties. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 2.3 million construction workers, or 65% of the construction industry, work on scaffolds. That many workers’ safety should never be compromised by a faulty scaffold.
OSHA also states the common hazards associated with scaffolds, some of which include falls from any height (due to lack of fall protection), and scaffold collapse, which could be caused by instability or overloading. OSHA also lists the requirements for those working on suspended scaffolds, like the one involved in the above accident. Some of these requirements include:
- All suspension scaffolds must be secured to prevent them from swaying
- Guardrails or a personal fall protection system (or both) must be used to protect each worker that is 10 feet above a lower level
- A competent person must inspect the scaffold before use to ensure the scaffold ropes’ security, and that the scaffold can support its intended load
It is clear that there are substantial risks associated with working on scaffolds. With that many hazards involved, extra care should be taken to ensure scaffolds are as safe as possible to work on and do not collapse or otherwise malfunction.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a scaffolding or other work-related accident, don’t hesitate to contact the construction accident lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy. Our attorneys have years of experience handling scaffold-related accident cases, including a $7,000,000 settlement for a 25-year-old carpenter who was dismantling a scaffold when a five-pound metal clamp struck him in the face, and a $6,000,000 settlement for a union waterproofer who fell from an exterior scaffold while working on a Brooklyn construction site.