In the second fatal construction accident in New York in four days, a 32-year-old construction worker was tragically killed after he fell four stories from a scaffold on the sixth floor of a Queens building where he was working.
The worker, who has been identified as Diego Lliguicota, was working on a scaffold on the sixth floor of a building under construction in Maspeth, Queens. The accident occurred around 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 22, 2021. Lliguicota was trying to remove a ladder when he fell off the scaffold and plunged four stories. From a height of that magnitude, OSHA requires that all workers on scaffolding be wearing a harness, tie-off, or some sort of personal fall protection. He was immediately rushed to a hospital, but unfortunately, he could not be saved.
The Department of Buildings is investigating the accident to determine if any safety issues on the site contributed to this tragic fall. DOB spokesperson Andrew Rudansky said, “Safety must be the top priority on every construction site across our city. We are committed to conducting a thorough investigation to find out how this tragic fall occurred, and if we find that safety rules were ignored, we will hold those responsible to account.”
Regardless of what the DOB’s inspection brings to light, this accident is a terrible tragedy. We send our deepest condolences to the victim’s loved ones and are keeping them in our thoughts.
It is unacceptable not only that this accident occurred, but that it is the second fatal accident that occurred in just four days in New York. On May 19, a construction supervisor was killed on a construction site in the Bronx when an elevator he was in suddenly dropped four stories. Construction workers should not have to be afraid for their lives every time that they go to work.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes scaffolds as a great risk to workers if they are not set up or used properly. Some of these risks include falls from the scaffold due to lack of fall protection, scaffold collapse due to overloading the scaffold, and being struck by falling objects. In response, OSHA has set multiple standards and regulations in order to combat the risks that scaffolding can pose. Some of these standards include:
- All scaffolds must be capable of supporting their own weight and at least four times their maximum intended weight
- Each platform of the scaffold must be fully planked
- Employers must provide personal fall protection, such as harnesses or tie-offs, to each employee that will be working on a scaffold that is more than 10 feet above another lower level
- Employers must ensure guardrails are installed on most scaffolds, in addition to providing personal fall protection
- Employers must provide some sort of falling object protection, such as screens, debris nets, toeboards, or barricades
These regulations, especially the requirements to provide fall protection, are meant to protect workers when they are working at great heights (more than 10 feet) on scaffolds, as Mr. Lliguicota was. If, for example, no harness or tie-off was provided for him to wear or the scaffold did not have the required guardrails or toeboards, these oversights could have contributed to an otherwise preventable death.
The construction accident lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy have handled numerous scaffold accident cases, and understand the pain and confusion victims and their families feel in the aftermath of the accident. If you or a loved one has been injured in a scaffold fall or other construction accident caused by someone else’s negligence, we are here to help.
Call 212-736-5300 or fill out our online contact form to discuss your case with an expert personal injury attorney today.