It was a scary scene in midtown Manhattan when two window washers plummeted 15 stories off a scaffold suspended from a crane on November 14, 2020.
Two unidentified men were working outside the 50th floor at 30 Hudson Yards on West 33rd Street and 10th Avenue around 11 a.m. on Saturday morning, when the suspenders on their scaffold malfunctioned and collapsed. The “controlled” descent sent the scaffold plummeting 15 stories before abruptly stopping at the 37th floor. The sudden stop caused the workers to fall off their platform and onto the roof of the 35th floor, two more stories below. Their fall was said to be broken by a wooden storage shed. FDNY rushed to cut a hole in the window of the 37th floor and pulled the men, who were conscious at the time, to safety.
Both were taken to Bellevue Hospital, with one worker reportedly suffering serious injuries while the other is reported to have minor injuries. Both are expected to make a full recovery. According to officials, the 20-foot drop from the 37th to 35th floor is what injured the workers. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
We wish the victims a full and speedy recovery after this distressing accident.
This incident comes a year after a November 11, 2019 scaffold collapse in the same Hudson Yards area that left four workers injured. And just last month a worker in the Bronx was rescued after a falling building façade caused the scaffold he was working on to collapse. Accidents involving scaffolds are not rare in New York City, and contribute to many workplace injuries and deaths. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls from scaffolds account for nearly 25% of deadly falls at work sites and are one of the leading causes of deaths in construction site accidents. Injuries from these accidents can include traumatic brain and spinal injuries, as well as broken bones and amputations.
Scaffolds are often put up very quickly, sometimes with little or no planning, which can lead to significant injuries to both the workers and pedestrians below. Some other common causes of scaffold collapses include:
- Overloading platforms with tools and materials
- Insufficient maintenance of scaffold
- Lack of safety inspections
- Severe weather conditions such as high winds and heavy rain or snow
New York’s Labor Law §240, often referred to as the scaffolding law, is a law that protects the rights of workers who suffer height-related injuries. The law states that construction owners must provide proper protective equipment to protect their workers. This can include scaffolding, ladders, slings, hangers, pulleys, and ropes, among other equipment. It is also important that work sites comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and that includes making sure training is provided. Work sites that comply with OSHA standards are less likely to have job-related injuries.
The scaffold accident attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy have one of the best records in recovering compensation for scaffold injury victims in New York State. Some of our top results include:
- $7,000,000 settlement for a union worker who suffered a facial fracture after he was struck in the face with a five-pound metal clamp while dismantling a scaffold
- $6,000,000 settlement for a union waterproofer who did not receive any safety devices prior to falling from an exterior scaffold, causing him to sustain a herniated disc
- $5,885,000 jury verdict for a non-union laborer who fell from a ladder placed on a scaffold and suffered serious spinal injuries
If you or someone you know was injured in a scaffold accident you may be entitled to compensation. Speak with one of our experienced attorneys today by calling 212-736-5300 or fill out our online contact form to get a free consultation.