Tragedy was narrowly avoided on the evening of Sunday, Nov. 15, when a glass curtain wall panel fell 56 stories from a midtown building to the street below, shattering and scattering chunks of glass all over the street.
Fortunately, no one below was injured. Police shut down the area surrounding the building. According to Department of Buildings Spokesman Andrew Rudansky, a stop-work order was issued for the 85-story luxury apartment building, located at 111 W. 57th St. The property’s profile on the DOB website states it currently has a Class 1 violation, meaning the property is considered immediately hazardous. The DOB is still looking into the exact cause of this accident, Rudansky said.
Shockingly, this is the second time in less than a month that an incident has occurred at this location. The building at 111 W. 57th Street is under construction, and last month, on October 29, strong winds caused a crane attached to the building to spin around in 360-degree circles, knocking heavy metal debris from the side of the building onto the street below. Luckily, no one was injured in this incident either. Despite the narrow avoidance of pedestrian injury, a stop-work order was not issued after this accident, since the crane’s spinning was considered a normal function. However, according to public records, New York City did fine the crane company $10,000.
Clearly, that was still not enough to improve the safety standards of this building and prevent another accident from occurring. One incident can be explained as simply an accident, but two incidents at the same construction site leads one to wonder if the proper safety measures are being taken.
This building is set to be the second-tallest residential building in the city. Any construction work that takes place at high-rise buildings is not only dangerous for the workers, but for pedestrians and bystanders in the surrounding area. There are specific risks involved with constructing a high-rise building, such as:
- The threat of high winds, fire, or flooding
- Repeatedly lifting items to major heights with cranes
- The difference in wind speeds from ground level to higher up
- Making sure the building doesn’t tilt as its height increases
- Ensuring the construction of the building doesn’t disrupt or weaken nearby structures
- Ensuring the area around the construction site is still safe for pedestrians and traffic
If all materials are not properly secured or safety precautions are not put in place, the risk of accidents greatly increases. Ensuring such a high-risk work site is safe often falls to the manager of the project, who is responsible for identifying any potential hazards, eliminating or minimizing risk of accidents, and maintaining and revising any risk management measures put in place. Regarding the incident above, as there were no workers on site at the time of the accident, the potential lack of risk management would fall to the contractor or manager of the work site.
It is extremely fortunate that no one was injured in either of the accidents that occurred at this work site. However, if you are a pedestrian or a worker who has been injured on a construction site, the construction accident lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy are ready to discuss your legal options. We have obtained numerous results for both pedestrians and workers injured as a result of construction accidents, including a record-breaking $110 million verdict for a cyclist who was struck by an object dropped from a work site, and a $15 million settlement for the surviving family of a worker who was crushed by a falling air chiller.