On Tuesday, March 21, 2023, three elevator mechanics were injured when an elevator car they were performing maintenance on suddenly fell three stories. New York City’s Department of Buildings (DOB) is investigating the accident.
The incident occurred at the city’s second-tallest office building, One Vanderbilt, a 93-story skyscraper that opened in September 2020. The three workers were reportedly performing a software update on an external elevator used for the building’s observation deck, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt. As they worked, the elevator suddenly fell about three stories, landing at the bottom of its track on the 93rd floor. The three workers reportedly suffered injuries but declined medical attention at the scene of the accident.
The impact of the elevator landing caused the building to shake aggressively, which was felt by office workers throughout the building. The shaking sent frightened workers running out onto Madison Avenue. One worker shared on Twitter that “[the building] felt like the floor dropped 5 feet and continued to bounce.”
The DOB reported no damage was done to the building and there were no public safety risks posed to those inside or outside the building. The observation deck was closed to the public at the time of the accident. According to NBC New York, the elevator involved in this incident will need to be fixed, but building officials claim there were no major issues.
The Importance of Elevator Safety
An elevator accident can have potentially catastrophic consequences for those involved. In New York State, local laws govern various aspects of elevator safety, including installation, inspection, and maintenance. It is crucial that maintenance companies, property owners, general contractors, and other responsible parties adhere to all safety rules and regulations to prevent serious accidents from happening.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission determined that elevators and escalators cause about 30 deaths a year in the United States, as well as an astounding 17,000 injuries. New York City faces a substantial part of this risk, since the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) has over 70,000 passenger elevators in its jurisdiction. The DOB estimates that people in the city take up to one billion elevator trips annually.
NYC Building Codes dictate that elevators should undergo inspections twice a year. Furthermore, these inspections must be done by a third-party agency, without advance notice. Rigorous maintenance is also mandatory, which includes permits, logs, and contracts with elevator agencies approved by the DOB.
The “Elevator Safety Act” added much-needed legislation regarding elevator operations when it was passed in 2020, requiring workers to be licensed by New York State. The New York State Department of Labor lists six separate licenses relating to this type of work.
Advocacy for Victims of Elevator-Related Accidents
With proper legal representation, people injured by faulty elevators can potentially recover financial compensation. At Block O’Toole & Murphy, our attorneys have a wealth of knowledge, experience, and results surrounding elevator accidents.
Notable case results include:
- $7,200,000 wrongful death settlement for the family of a Brooklyn resident who suffered fatal injuries when he fell down an elevator shaft while attempting to escape a stuck elevator
- $7,000,000 settlement for a worker who suffered serious injuries requiring surgery after falling 30 feet down an elevator shaft
- $5,500,000 settlement for a truck driver who was injured when he was struck by the metal gate of a freight elevator while making a delivery
To speak with one of our skilled elevator accident attorneys today, call 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form online. We serve New York and New Jersey.